The Montana Department of Transportation has provided an important update on the status of the Higgins Avenue – Beartracks Bridge renovation project.
District One Administrator Bob Vosen spoke to KGVO News late Friday afternoon to explain why weight restrictions have been placed on the bridge, prohibiting vehicles exceeding GVW of 10 tons from utilizing the bridge.
“During the demolition on the east side of the bridge, that’s the second side of the bridge, some additional degradation was discovered,” said Vosen. “So, in the interest of safety, we decided to conduct further inspections on the west side, that’s the first side of the bridge. Those inspections indicated that we had similar issues on the west side of the bridge as well. So out of an abundance of caution, and to prevent further degradation, we put load restrictions in place.”
Vosen explained that gusset plates have degraded over the years and must be upgraded or replaced for the safety of the bridge.
“A gusset plate is a plate that ties other members of the bridge structure together and they can be used in various locations, such as tying beams to diaphragms and stringers to girders,” he said, “It’s like a connection plate.”
Since the bridge