Stahly Engineering and Associates has created a project page to inform residents about the progress of the replacement of the Old Town Bridge north of Three Forks.
The page, which can be found at oldtown.stahlyprojects.com, features a project history and schedule, and legislative update. The page also allows residents the opportunity to submit comments and questions.
According to the newly created project page, an advertisement for construction bids for the project will go out in October, with the bridge's construction taking place from December 2023 through March 2024.
The Old Town Bridge in Gallatin County was closed after being ruled unsafe for vehicles or pedestrians after a regularly scheduled MDT inspection on June 6, 2022. Gallatin County has been working with Broadwater County to find a path forward to replacing both bridges on Old Town Road. Both entities have applied for a $750,000 Montana Coal Endowment Program (MCEP) Grant. The grants fates will be decided during the current legislative session in Helena.
Gallatin County Commissioner Zach Brown said in July the worst-case scenario in costs for the bridges would be $2 million each. Along with the two possible $750,000 grants, Brown said they also have a $200,000 commitment from Broadwater County. At the same meeting in July, former Commissioner Joe Skinner said Gallatin County also has a bridge fund to help with the project.
According to MDT Bridge Bureau Chief Stephanie Brandenberger, the bridge crossing the Jefferson River on Old Town Road in Gallatin County was closed after its annual safety and condition inspection on June 5 and 6.
"This is a 110 ft long steel truss bridge that is over 100 years old. The inspectors found significant distortion and cracking in a critical element of the truss called the end post, and observed that the bridge 'sways' under relatively light loads," said Brandenberger. "To ensure public safety, the inspectors recommended immediate closure of the bridge. MDT contacted the bridge owner, Gallatin County, to inform them of the critical finding, and Gallatin County forces immediately closed the bridge to vehicles and pedestrians."
In a meeting last May, Broadwater County Public Works Director Josh Obert discussed the importance of replacing the bridges from an emergency service standpoint. He said emergency responders had to use the bridges for a fire last year, and their condition very much limits emergency response.
After a public bidding process, Gallatin County in September procured the services of Stahly Engineering to complete the design work for the closed bridge on Old Town Road.