Efforts continue to prepare for the placement of a walking bridge that would span South Reserve Street so that pedestrians and bicyclists will no longer have to cross the sometimes perilous street.

Director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, Ellen Buchanan, said the $5 million project is on schedule.

"Right now they're pouring the ramps that will lead up to the bridge itself," Buchanan said. "They've got a lot of the work done on the east side and are mobilizing onto the west side now over by the golf course. We think the bridge span itself has been fabricated and will be delivered to the site sometime this fall, so we're looking at an October or November opening, hopefully, if we don't run into any snags."

Buchanan laid to rest the notion that the elevated walking bridge is designed to be some kind of a 'mega-load' killer, to keep large loads from using the Reserve Street corridor.

"The center section of the bridge itself will be removable," she said. "That was one of the requirements of the state Department of Transportation. That way, if oversize loads cannot clear that bridge they have the option of removing that center section so they can move up Reserve Street. The company sponsoring the oversize load would be responsible for the cost of removing the bridge, just as they are now with the moving of traffic lights and other obstacles."

Buchanan said once pedestrians cross the bridge heading into Missoula, they will rejoin the soon-to-be-completed trail through Missoula.

"Once they cross the bridge, the trail will simply extend up to McDonald and then tie right in to the Bitterroot Branch Trail, and there are improvements being made right now to that segment to get pedestrians and cyclists through that connection safely."

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