As it inches closer to 2024, work continues to replace the two bridges on Old Town Road.
According to Kathy Thompson, Bridge and Transportation Department Manager for Stahly Engineering and Associates, the Old Town East Bridge in Gallatin County has concrete beams procured, the design is 95 percent complete, and the application for environmental permits has been submitted to the permitting agencies.
"The primary reason that the schedule has been pushed is due to the supplier of the concrete beams we are using on the bridge. When beams are ordered, due to labor and material shortages, it takes over 12 months to get beams fabricated and delivered. We ordered the beams ahead of time to get a jump on that time frame, but unfortunately, we have no control over the backlog and schedule of the supplier," Thompson said.
As far as the Old Town West Bridge in Broadwater County, Thompson said they are nearly ready to order beams and are awaiting the final hydraulic analysis.
"Once that is completed, the process will be similar to the Old Town East Bridge. Design will be completed, and the application for environmental permits will be submitted while we are awaiting the concrete beams," she said.
According to Thompson, Stahly is still planning to bid on the project this spring to get a contractor hired, and construction could start as early as July.
"However, the beams will be driving the project schedule," said Thompson. "I do understand that this is a significant hardship for all the residents on Old Town Road, and we are doing all we can to speed up the process."
The Old Town Bridge (East) in Gallatin County was closed after being ruled unsafe for vehicles or pedestrians after a regularly scheduled MDT inspection on June 6, 2022.
In May 2023, Gallatin and Broadwater Counties received $750,000 in Montana Coal Endowment Program (MCEP) Grants to replace the two bridges.
Broadwater County Commissioner Lindsey Richtmyer recently said that since the bridges are crucial to both counties, the cost will be shared between Gallatin and Broadwater, but there isn't a breakdown or details yet. She added that engineering is also looking for possible grant funding, but there are no details yet to share.
A project page for the bridge replacements is available online at https://seaeng.wixsite.com/oldtown.