Heavy equipment is in place to begin laying the infrastructure for the walking bridge over South Reserve that will connect the Bitterroot Branch Trail to the Missoula to Lolo Trail.

Missoula Redevelopment Agency Director Ellen Buchanan said the bridge will cross over South Reserve on the north side of Old Highway 93 near University Motors, the Loose Caboose and Aaron's.

Bridge Photo

“The main thing that’s going on right now is some utility relocation that has to be done for the project and some clearing to get ready to start driving piles and pouring foundations,” Buchanan said. “They’re going to start on the east side of Reserve Street and start driving piles for those ramps, and then we’ll go across and work on the west side and then we’ll see steel and concrete go in.”

Buchanan said the bridge itself will be prefabricated and brought to the site.

“It will be built off-site by a pre-fabricator, and then it will be trucked to the site and erected,” she said. “The ramps on either side will be in place, and that’s the one thing that will require a closing of Reserve Street for the time it takes for that bridge to be set in place, just for safety reasons.”

Buchanan said none of the businesses in the area will lose any part of their properties.

“This is being built entirely in city right-of-way,” she added, “those businesses will remain open, access will remain available to them and signage will be provided to let people know they’re open.”

Buchanan said as the time approaches for South Reserve to close while the bridge is put in place, local media will alert the public about detours. She said the final project is due to be completed by October.