Ribbon cut crowns completion of $ 29 million Russell Street Bridge in Missoula ~ Missoula Current

The Montana Department of Transportation, joined by officials from the city of Missoula, cut the ribbon on the new $ 29 million Russell Street Bridge on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 (Image KPAX)

Gathered with city officials on the Milwaukee Trail pedestrian underpass, the Montana Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the new Russell Street Bridge with a groundbreaking ceremony.

The celebration comes after decades of planning and a two-year, $ 29 million construction project.

During the ceremony, four personalities, including Mayor John Engen, recognized the dozens of people and businesses from the community of Missoula who contributed to the final project.

“There are people whose entire careers have been rooted in this one project,” said MDT director Mike Tooley. “It would include mine.”

The bridge, once infamous for its squeak, now provides easier access to all types of transportation crossing the Clark Fork River, including walkers and cyclists. Every speaker at the commemoration pointed out that the new bridge helps connect the community.

Over 250 hours were spent building the bridge. Allan Frankl, vice president of Dick Anderson Construction, said everyone who contributed to the project “did their part by doing something for their community to make it a better place to live”.

Engen called this a “testament of community collaboration.”

Beyond the Russell Street Bridge, MDT’s next project will focus on the reconstruction of the Higgins Avenue Bridge starting this fall.

Julia Johnson is a Missoula Current intern at the Missoula Writing Collaborative.

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