February 19, 2007

The Montana Department of Transportation has announced its intention to replace, rather than upgrade, the Highway 200 bridge in Milltown over the Blackfoot River. The state has said it will accept the EPA’s offer of $3.8 million to help replace the bridge. “We certainly think the public and taxpayers will be better served spending that amount of money on a new bridge rather than shoring up an old bridge,” said MDT Director Jim Lynch in a Missoulian interview.

All five bridges over the Blackfoot River need to be upgraded or replaced before the Milltown Dam can be removed. Upgrading the existing 58-year-old Highway 200 bridge could have cost roughly $3 million. Next big bridge issues are what do about traffic during the bridge construction and what will happen to Missoula County’s pedestrian bridge. A community meeting is planned to discuss bridges issues in late February or early March.

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