This week, Missoulians will get their first glimpse at plans for the new South Avenue Bridge, which is expected to replace the old Maclay Bridge over the Bitterroot River. County Engineer Erick Dickson explains.

"On Tuesday the 16th, we have a public meeting to let the public know where we stand with our design process that started last year," said Dickson. "We have a type site and location presentation to give them an idea of where the bridge is and what it might look like and some of the things that will go along with that bridge."

The new bridge will be revealed at 6:00 p.m. in the Big Sky High School Cafeteria. Dickson says some items are still under consideration, like whether or not there will be one or two pedestrian paths on the bridge, but some items are close to final.

"The new bridge is about four tenths of a mile upstream, Dickson said. "The existing bridge is an old trust structure or a couple trust structures. The style that has been selected by the technical design committee at this point is a steel bridge. I guess the best comparison would be something similar to Kona Ranch Bridge."

The replacement of Maclay Bridge has been fraught with contention, with many local homeowners protesting new bridge construction over traffic concerns. Although the plans may be close to final, construction is still far away, Dickson says 2018 would be the earliest possible start date.

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