The Montana Department of Transportation has begun construction at the intersection of Third Street and Higgins, where travelers can expect limited vehicle access and sidewalk displacement.

Project Manager Matt Straub provided an update on the construction that is part of the overall reconstruction of the Higgins Bridge.

“We have started the reconstruction of the Third Street in Higgins intersection,” said Straub. “A result of this construction is having to close down the intersection for the next six to eight weeks to facilitate the construction. Vehicle traffic is being routed around on Myrtle Street. While the pedestrian traffic is being maintained up against the adjacent buildings, access to the businesses will remain open during business hours. These are the businesses that are basically long what is called the ‘Hip Strip’ in Missoula.”

Straub described the construction underway at that location.

“We're going to replace the current median island and realign Third Street to more of a right angle approach to Higgins,” he said. “This will allow for the construction of a plaza or concrete area on the corner there that will provide more pedestrian space on the southwest corner of the intersection.”

Straub provided an update on the entire Higgins Bridge project as of this week.

“Our first phase of the project which is the west side of the bridge, should be completed by the beginning of June,” he said. “At that point we will swap traffic to the west side of the bridge and start demolition and reconstruction on the east side. The completion of the work on the east side should be done by the beginning of December and then the following spring we will have some cleanup finish up work up top but we will be substantially complete and open by the beginning of December.”

He said the total cost of the Higgins Bridge project is just over $16.5 million, and the work is being handled by Sletten Construction out of Great Falls.

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