Planners, locals say Missoula bridges need makeover


MISSOULA, Mont. - Missoula city planners are discussing the future of two key travel corridors in Missoula. City planners say the Higgins Avenue and Madison Street bridges may need repairs or even replacement.

NBC Montana was at the meeting Wednesday night as planners asked the public to weigh in and share their thoughts on what needs to be fixed or changed.

A number of people pointed to a need for wider pedestrian crossings over the river and a lack of viewing decks so folks can stop on the bridges and take in the sights.

Bob Giordano, director of the Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation, told planners he would like to see improved access from both bridges down to the river trail and for outdated railings to be replaced. 

"The expansion joints -- you're used to it after living in Missoula for over a decade or two but its [bumpy] when you drive over," he said.  "You can bend your bike wheel and break spokes, which I know people that have broken spokes on expansion joints."

Another popular idea was to add an under-bridge -- similar to the Madison Street pedestrian bridge -- to the Higgins Avenue Bridge. 

Many residents say they feel both bridges should be enhanced so they look more attractive.

Wednesday's forum was the first of two -- the second is scheduled for September. Additionally, they will provide a public/agency review period in January/February 2014 to solicit feedback on the draft study.

If you would like to review the bridge study website click here.

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