There's more frustration for Missoula residents who live west of the Bitterroot River, with news that it will be another month before crews finish their repairs to the old Maclay Bridge.

The bridge was closed in late winter after inspections uncovered the old bridge, which engineers said made it unsafe, even with load limits.

Maclay Bridge has been problematic for years and is destined for replacement. But it still remains a critical link for residents commuting into town from the west side of the valley.

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More work needed

The bridge was shut down to all traffic, including pedestrians and bikes after inspections in February, At the time, state engineers told me there were problems not only with the wood deck but also the truss supports, a point that was proven when crews ripped into the structure a few weeks later.

The original target date for re-opening the bridge was the end of April.

A worker welds on the old Maclay bridge; Dennis Bragg photo
A worker welds on the old Maclay bridge; Dennis Bragg photo

In a Facebook post this week, Missoula County said a new inspection by engineers from HDR Wednesday showed there are still some problems that must be solved. That means the hoped-for opening date this weekend will have to be postponed until next month.

One reason for that delay is ordering additional materials.

RELATED: Maclay Bridge Closure Could Impact Annual Race

What happens next

Once the repairs are complete, the county says crews will install the new driving surface, which includes new concrete that has to cure for 7 days.

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

There will have to be an additional inspection, especially for weight limits. But Missoula County Public Works hopes to have the bridge re-opened by the second week in June.

That's cutting in close for the Missoula Marathon organizers, who have been making contingency plans in case the bridge route isn't possible.

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Here's a sample of some of the exotic animals that the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks consider "noncontrolled species" meaning they aren't prohibited unless it falls under Montana or Federal law. For more information about these species and other "exotic noncontrolled species" refer to the guidance from Montana Fish Wildlife, and Parks.

Gallery Credit: Ashley

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