MDT seeks to bridge gaps in aging infrastructure

Bret Anne Serbin

Missoula’s Beartracks Bridge passed its Montana Department of Transportation inspection last month, wrapping up years of construction to stabilize the aging structure. But hundreds of bridges around the state aren’t so lucky.

“Our ability to replace all the bridges that need to be replaced is becoming a challenge,” said Andy Cullison, MDT’s bridge bureau chief. “Nationwide, I think everybody’s dealing with aging infrastructure.”

Montana has approximately 4,500 bridges: 2,500 under MDT’s ownership and 2,000 owned by local municipalities. Many of them were designed with a 75-year lifespan, and they are approaching the end point in that timeline.

Two construction workers repair the surface on Maclay Bridge this spring. Maclay is on the MDT’s list as one of the highest priority bridges for repair around Missoula. 


In addition, roughly 440 timber bridges dating back to the Great Depression and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal are in service throughout Montana today.

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