MISSOULA, Montana. (August 1, 2018) – The Bonner Bridges on Interstate 90 spanning the Blackfoot River are being fully reconstructed by the Montana Department of Transportation. The intention of the two-year reconstruction is to improve river safety and fish habitat. The $15 million project will deliver much needed safety upgrades to the aging structures, and is slated to be complete in November 2019.
Due to construction impacts on river users floating under the bridge, motorists driving over the Bonner Bridges and pedestrians both above and below, the Montana Department of Transportation will host an open house on August 6 from 3-7 p.m. at the Bonner Elementary School. Attendees will be able to cast their vote for the logo that will adorn the bridges once the project is complete.
Logo designs were developed from a workshop hosted by the Montana Department of Transportation in June 2018. Participants represented the Bonner-Milltown and Missoula communities, as well as the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. The open house will be the first-time logo options are unveiled. All attending the open house will have an opportunity help guide the aesthetics of the Bonner Bridges and make their impact on history for decades to come.
Additionally, the Montana Department of Transportation encourages residents to attend the open house to meet the construction team and ask questions. The open house will also provide a chance to see project plans, to learn about improvements and impacts, and to gain a better sense of the project. Both the general public and the media are encouraged to attend.
In particular, the angler and floating communities are invited to join to understand the purpose of river closures under the Bonner Bridges. The Blackfoot River was closed in May 2018 due to construction and will be closed again in late summer and early fall for safety reasons. The Montana Department of Transportation coordinates closely with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to implement these intermittent closures when necessary to protect river users.
“It’s always a tough decision to close river access, especially in the height of the summer season,” says Bob Vosen, Missoula District Construction Engineer said. “We aren’t blind to the impact that a closure has on residents, tourists and outfitting and guiding businesses. However, safety is the utmost priority here, and we just can’t risk someone being injured in the river during construction. Once this project is wrapped up and we’re out of here, the area will actually be a lot safer for everyone to use.”
Beyond roadway reconstruction, the Montana Department of Transportation will construct a pedestrian path under the bridges that will connect into the new Milltown State Park. Enhanced lighting and seating will also be included as part of the redesign of the bridges.
Renderings and plans for designs, as well as the project staff who designed these features, and construction managers who will be building these improvements will be available for questions at the August 6 open house.
The public is encouraged to reach out with any questions regarding the project. Further information may be requested by calling the (406)-207-4484 project hotline during regular business hours.
Those looking for continual updates about the Bonner Bridges project are advised to sign up for weekly email updates by emailing[email protected]. SMS texting updates are also available by texting “BONNER” to 41411. Regular updates are sent during active construction to those who have registered. Information is also available on the project web page, http://www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/bonner and will be continually updated throughout the course of the project.
This meeting is held pursuant to Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act which ensures that no person in the United States shall, as provided by Federal and State Civil Rights laws, be excluded from participation in, denied benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination on the basis of a protected status during any MDT project. Further information is will be available in the Title VI pamphlets at the event.