Russell street underpass file

An underpass was added to the Milwaukee Trail that passes under Russell Street near Dakota Street.

Missoula’s massive Russell Street construction project reaches a milestone Friday afternoon when the Milwaukee Trail pedestrian underpass is officially opened for use.

The Montana Department of Transportation announced the opening in a press release Thursday.

“The underpass has been one of the most highly anticipated aspects of this project,” said Bob Vosen, MDT’s acting district administrator. “Together with our partners we are connecting the community.”

The underpass, 3½ blocks south of the Clark Fork River near Dakota Street, is a key component to the Russell Street-Broadway to Dakota project, which includes the construction of a new Russell Street Bridge.

Along with the recent installment of the Russell and Wyoming Street intersection traffic signal, the Milwaukee Trail pedestrian underpass will provide a safe and efficient path for foot, bike and stroller traffic through the heart of Missoula for decades to come.

Construction continues on the underpass. Staircases leading to and from it to Russell Street will be closed until completed later in September. There’ll also be final landscaping within the underpass. Updates will be provided if temporary closures are needed.

The west side of the bridge construction continues on schedule. MDT’s online timeline calls for “substantial completion” by December 2019 with closeout in the spring of 2020. The Riverfront Trail connection will be open upon the full completion of the bridge.

“MDT thanks the Missoula community for their patience throughout the completion of the Russell Street Bridge project, especially as other high-impact construction projects were completed in Missoula area over the 2018 and 2019 seasons,” the release said.

To receive regular updates, text RUSSELL to 41411 or send a request to Katie Klietz at katie@bigskypublicrelations.com.

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