Expect delays with improvements to Higgins St bridge

If you use Higgins St bridge to get around Missoula, get ready for more traffic and delays.

The Montana Department of Transportation is getting ready to add deck improvements to the bridge.

MDT officials say 15,000 cars drive over the Higgins St bridge each day.

Starting in February, there will be reduced traffic lanes.

MDT officials say the improvements will be done in two phases. The first phase starts in February and ends in July. Both lanes of Higgins St driving southbound will be closed. If you're driving from the Wilma to the Hip Strip, those two lanes will be closed.

 

This means both north and sound bond lanes will be knocked down to one lane of traffic, causing more delays for drivers.

MDT crews will re-deck the southbound lanes of traffic, which means they will add a new top layer to the road. The main structure of the bridge will remain. 

 

However, with the rehabilitation project, the pedestrian walkway will extend from four feet to 12 feet. 

 

One Missoula resident who walks the bridge everyday said the project is needed.

"Widening the pedestrian walkway will be nice, more convenient. I feel it's a little narrow, especially in the winter when it's icy and there's a lot of traffic. It can feel a little treacherous," Tony Gregori said.

After phase one is complete in July, phase two will cause closure for northbound lanes on the bridge.

 

If you're driving from the Hip Strip to downtown Missoula, those lanes will be closed and traffic will be moved to the new and improved section.

MDT officials said they are meeting with the Clark Fork market board Tuesday night. A portion of the farmer's market, under the bridge, will be moved.    

The Clark Fork market board will determine where to move, but MDT officials said they believe it may move over to Caras park. 

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