Welcome to the Maclay Bridge Alliance Website!
The Maclay Bridge Alliance (MBA) is a non-profit Montana corporation led by citizens and taxpayers within the neighborhoods surrounding Maclay Bridge and Missoula County at large.
MBA advocates for the preservation and rehabilitation of the historic Maclay Bridge. MBA formed in 2011 based on membership opposition to a new South Avenue Bridge with all the traffic and new safety hazards it would generate. MBA initially formed as an ad hoc group for these purposes and we have continued to function with contributions and pledges by our membership now over 200+ strong.
One afternoon in 2010 a local resident came upon Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and Missoula County Public Works employees under the Maclay Bridge examining it. Word spread quickly that “something was in the wind” for Maclay Bridge. Folks living in Big Flat, O’Brien Creek, Blue Mountain, and Target Range east of the river knew little or nothing about plans for change, even though it could greatly affect their lives and their taxes.
Residents from all of these areas came together with the intention of finding out exactly what the proposal was for Maclay Bridge. We discovered that a new bridge at the end of South Avenue was being proposed by the Missoula County Commissioners, working with MDT and the Federal Highways Administration (FHWA). It was later discovered that the Commissioners planned to remove Maclay Bridge as part of the project.
Folks became concerned. What funding would be used for the proposed project? What funding would be used to maintain a new bridge, and bring streets and roads up to the infrastructure requirements of such a project?
Thus the Maclay Bridge Alliance (MBA) was formed and registered with the State of Montana. Following intensive research, consultation with a recognized bridge engineer (who had previously refurbished the Maclay bridge), and consultation with local hydrologists and long-time community residents, MBA requested that the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) conduct a pre-NEPA feasibility study to look into options regarding Maclay Bridge and to engage the surrounding neighborhood (in fact, the entire county taxpayer base!) in the decision-making process.
MBA began by conducting intensive research into existing county bridge records and engineering standards. As stated in our Mission Statement, MBA’s goal was to get facts before the public, including definitions of engineering terms that were commonly being used out of context. When a pre-NEPA feasibility study was undertaken, MBA followed each development and reported them to the neighborhood and county citizens and taxpayers.
The resulting feasibility study was completed and the draft final report was presented to the public for comments. Public meetings to gather comments were held. Unfortunately, most of the comments were tacked on to an appendix and given no further consideration. The final results of this advisory/feasibility study were presented to the Missoula County Commissioners in early 2013. The final report and comments are available for your review here. MBA believes the Pre NEPA study didn't present an accurate evaluation of rehabilitation options for Maclay Bridge.