The Missoula City Council increased its budget for the Northside Pedestrian Bridge Wednesday due to the deteriorating status of the bridge’s infrastructure.
“This is a highly important connection for all Northside residents to get to downtown and to the university,” said David Selvage, the city’s parks services and systems superintendent.
Council voted unanimously with three members absent to authorize a $171,000 change order for engineering services on the bridge. HDR Engineers was selected to carry out the engineering services by a request for proposals process.
HDR previously worked on repairs in 2010, and Selvage said parts of the structure have “deteriorated considerably” since then.
Selvage said new cracks in the masonry blocks were recently discovered throughout the bridge, which was built in 1999.
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“This will certainly impact the total project cost,” Selvage said.
The current timeline for the repairs would see the project going out to bid in November or December, with the award taking place in February 2023. Selvage expects the work to occur throughout summer 2023.
“We’re trying to avoid closure right now,” he added, since there is currently “no reasonable safe alternative detour available.”
However, Selvage explained, it’s possible the bridge would be shut down for public safety reasons before the repairs are completed.
“The pan is deteriorating at a rapid rate and it’s possible we would be forced to shut this down for public safety purposes,” said Selvage.
“I’m glad to see this being addressed,” said Ward 6 City council member Kristen Jordan, who said she was just discussing the state of the bridge the week prior to Selvage’s presentation.
“I hope that we can find a way to keep it open as well even during construction because I think it would be a huge impact to the Northside if it were closed, but I also very much support the repairs,” said Ward 1 council member Jennifer Savage.
“This is in dire need of repair,” agreed fellow Ward 1 representative Heidi West. “I know this is a connector that’s needed for a lot of people in the Northside so I’m hoping we can keep it open and that it stays safe because yeah, we need it.”