The Russell Street Bridge project is coming to completion just in time for the rehabilitation of the Higgins Avenue Bridge to begin in February of 2020.

KGVO spoke with Bob Vosen, Montana Department of Highways District Administrator and John Schmidt, District Construction Engineer while they were traveling to Missoula and shared information about the upcoming project.

“Time wise, construction is going to begin most likely in February and it’s going to go through the summer,” said Vosen. “The project will be totally completed in about 16 months. The project involves not only widening of the decks but we’re also going to be repainting the beams underneath. The impactful work up on the deck will be in the first year and will be done in November.”

Schmidt described the improvements planned for the bridge decks.

“We’re going to be able to widen the bridge deck and add room for the shared use paths on both sides,” he said. “It’s an area that bicyclists and pedestrians both can use and the paths will be fully ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.”

Vosen said the plans have been carefully laid for the project to meet the needs of the community for many years to come.

“This project going forward is going to meet the needs of the community,” he said. “It will do so in a way that will minimize the impact as much as possible, and end up with a bridge that does meet the needs of all the different modes of travel that are so important to Missoula.”

Schmidt said there will be an open house in downtown Missoula this week for the public to get a closer look at the project and speak to construction officials.

“We have an open house at the new Residence Inn Hotel and that will be on Wednesday from 4 till 6 p.m.,” he said. “It’s an open house format which means people can come in anytime between 4 and 6. We’ll have some display boards and we’ll have information to show what the staging is going to look like.”

According to an MDT spokesperson, the estimated cost of the project is approximately $20 million. .