Dear Maclay Bridge Alliance Members,

Tempus fugits, and it has been a year since our last status update. No, We didn’t catch Covid-19 and we are still alive, but our wait for actual news regarding either South Avenue Bridge or Maclay Bridge produced very little, even under the Freedom of Information Act. Nevertheless we are still functioning and hopefully you have all evaded the pandemic as we have. No doubt the pandemic has played a part in the delay of the project, but activities were well behind schedule before that became a factor. We are not complaining about the delay but this misguided project continues to remain a negative factor in our lives.

When will MDT Complete their review of South Avenue Bridge Documents?

This was the primary question in May 2019 when we sent out a general project update. We said then that Montana Department of Transportation had indicated 2-3 weeks before they would pass it forward to Federal Highway Administration. As it turns out, that didn’t happen until 2020. The environmental documents have been under review by FHWA since at least June. When that is completed and the green light is given, MBA is to receive the Amended Determination of Effect for Historic Roads and Bridges for review and comment. That has not happened yet.

What Is New?

Missoula County has stepped back from management of the project. This happened at the request of the county and was negotiated between Missoula County and MDT. The conditions under the original Project Specific Agreement remain in effect through out the completion of the Phase I Review, but the county will turn project management over to MDT for the final design and construction phases. HDR is expected to continue in their role as the consultant.

MBA is in the process of reconstructing our website. Several of us have been working with a writer for several months now to prepare a narrative that will be easy for the public to follow. We are in the final phase of the “stories” about a proposed South Ave. bridge and our efforts to have Maclay Bridge rehabbed instead. A completely new version will be announced soon. Our next step will be to turn over our work to a web designer for an easy to read and navigate website. Our commitment to block construction of SAB continues. That will be evident in the new website.

Stay tuned for the continuation of the Maclay Bridge Saga and thanks for your support. Stay healthy and we hope you had a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Bob Schweitzer