More details released on Beartracks Bridge weight restriction

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The white concrete stain paint will reduce surface temperatures on Beartracks Bridge’s pedestrian and bike path during hot summer days.

ANTONIO IBARRA, Missoulian David Erickson

More details have been released about why construction managers have decided to impose a weight restriction on Beartracks Bridge in downtown Missoula.

The Montana Department of Transportation implemented a 10-ton weight limit this week as a precautionary measure after inspectors noticed problems on the bridge, which crosses the Clark Fork River on Higgins Avenue. Construction is underway to widen the bridge deck.

Degradation of some of the structural supports was noted during the east half of the bridge’s demolition phase, said Bob Vosen, the Missoula district administrator with the Montana Department of Transportation.

Additional inspections of the bridge’s west side found that some gusset plates — steel plates that tie bracing and/or beams to girders — need to be replaced, he said. The newly imposed weight restriction has been established to prevent further degradation of these plates.

“This is an old structure,” Vosen said. “When you

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