Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - With spring weather playing hide and seek with Missoula County road repair crews, work is underway on two important projects that have temporarily delayed drivers in the area.

KGVO News spoke with Missoula County Assistant Director of Public Works Eric Dickson this week about repairs to a culvert system that was for some reason left only half finished.

Did they Just Forget to Replace the Other Half of the Culvert?

“We're actually just replacing half of a culvert at the intersection of South Third Street West and Tower Street,” began Dickson. “It's an interesting situation. There's a culvert there that's about 180 feet long and it runs diagonally under Third Street and Tower Street. Apparently, in the mid-1980s, I'm going to say it was a county crew that replaced the upstream half of that culvert. I'm not entirely sure why they didn't do the whole thing, but that left the downstream half in place and you know, after another 30 years that became quite rusted and so we're replacing that half now.”

Dickson said traffic is delayed and detoured around the repairs which should be completed soon.

“We have that closed, and we're making some good progress,” he said. “We had a little bit of a slow start, but we’ll I think be ahead of schedule on that one actually. Our estimate was to have that area closed until the 20th, but I think we're looking to be open maybe Tuesday or Wednesday of next week or possibly earlier. So that's good news. It's quite an impact on a lot of people so we appreciate their patience on that one.”

Maclay Bridge is Closed for Repairs...Again

Another repair project is very familiar to county road crews and the residents in the area of Maclay Bridge.

Dickson said the asphalt on the aging bridge must be repaired and replaced on a regular basis.

“The other work that we're doing in that kind of the same area is over Maclay Bridge,” he said. “For a lot of those residents that have lived there for a while, they probably are not surprised that we're doing this work. If you’re a regular user of Maclay Bridge, you've probably seen the condition developing this spring where we had a lot of asphalt breaking up and exposing the metal deck underneath.”

Dickson said the repairs to the iconic bridge should be completed within a week or so.

Whatever Happened to that New Bridge out at the End of South Avenue?

“This is actually the third time since 2019 that we are headed out there to repair those holes in the asphalt surface and try to reestablish a good, solid driving surface,” he said. “So we're expected to have that bridge closed. We started that yesterday and we expect to have it open again probably by the afternoon of the 19, so that’s next Wednesday.”

Dickson said plans for a new bridge on South Avenue are still in the works, but opposition from area residents and the county commissioners may keep that project on the drawing board for quite some time.

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