Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Van Buren Street Footbridge has been a part of the everyday travel routine for many Missoula residents for decades, but this week, Missoula County Public Works will be closing part of the bridge for much-needed repairs.

KGVO News spoke with Missoula County Engineer Erik Dickson for details about the repairs that will close part of the footbridge this week.

Van Buren Street Footbridge Under Repair

“There are really two bridges that makeup what we call as a whole the Van Buren Street Footbridge,” began Dickson. “We have the main span truss that's over the Clark Fork River. And then we have the shorter span that is next to the Kim Williams Trail over the irrigation ditch diversion. So the work that we're doing this week is to just simply replace we're surfacing on that shorter span over the irrigation ditch.”

Dickson said City Parks and Recreation asked for the county’s help in resurfacing the pedestrian footbridge.

“We had been approached a couple of years ago by the City Parks and Recreation folks, and they were wanting to make some improvements to the intersection there and for the Kim Williams trail to try to address some surface drainage issues,” he said. “They asked us about our plans to research a bridge deck and see how that might tie into what they might do, so we were able to pull it together all of a sudden. I know it was very short notice.”

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The County Apologized for the Short Notice

Dickson provided more details about the resurfacing project.

“It's got an asphalt surface on it, but underneath there are timber planks and those are connected to the steel structure underneath,” he said. “You know it's been on there a long time and a lot of those timber pieces are kind of rotten. So we are actually taking that down to the bare steel girder and then rebuilding the timber deck on top of that, and then we'll replace the asphalt surfacing.”

Dickson said the Resurfacing is Long Overdue

Dickson said there were plans to do the work several years ago, but the project never took place.

“So I think it's about 2005 or 2006 that we installed the new rail system on that shorter approach bridge after we had that major work on the main structure, and it probably needed to be resurfaced then but I think we tried it,” he said. “I don't recall what happened. I don't know if we ran out of time, or whatever the case may be. It's long overdue, so yes, it'll be a much better surface for a long time.”

Get more details by calling the Missoula County Public Works Road Division at 406-258-3772.

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