The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the City of Missoula, initiated the Missoula Bridges Planning Study to identify potential bridge improvement options for the 57-year-old Madison Street Bridge. The study found that the bridge was in a deteriorating condition and structurally deficient. Although the bridge was deemed still safe to use, the deck concrete was distressed, the steel structure elements needed repair and/or replacement, and the entire steel portion of the bridge needed a new protective coating of paint. Additionally, having seen an increase in vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic, the City of Missoula identified this crossing as a priority for improving multimodal transportation.
The Madison Street Bridge was slated to be re-decked in 2020. In January 2016, however, a large hole developed in the sidewalk on the deck requiring the sidewalks on both sides to be closed to pedestrian traffic. MDT prioritized rehabilitation of the bridge to develop a “Design Build” (DB) that would allow design and construction to be completed much quicker than the normal “Design Bid Build” approach.
The project included a new concrete deck, two new bridge spans, sidewalks, a short segment of new trail, lighting, pilasters with U of M plaques, slope protection, and new pedestrian and bridge railing. Coordination with the community allowed for an efficient design timeframe and work was completed in August 2017, allowing the bridge to be usable for the U of M home-opening football game. In October 2017, the bridge was sealed and new pavement markings were placed on the new deck.