The Montana Department of Transportation is dedicated to preserving and interpreting sites across the state that document Montana’s exciting history. Old bridges can be found throughout the Big Sky Country, providing not only a link across rivers, but also a connection between the people who built them and those who came after. Jon Axline’s book, Conveniences Sorely Needed: Montana’s Historic Highway Bridges 1860-1956, explores the forces that built Montana’s historic bridges and the structures’ importance to the communities they served.
There are so many wonderful ways to use old historic bridges. As Montana updates its transportation system for the 21st century, new bridges replace the old. The bridges they replace still have the structural capacity to carry bicycle and pedestrian traffic and some cars. MDT usually puts the old bridges up for adoption.
MDT will apply the estimated demolition costs for the adopted bridge towards the moving and installation costs incurred by the adopting organization, whether private or otherwise, if the organization uses the bridge as a component in a transportation corridor. Contact the bridge adoption program manager, , 406.444.6260 the MDT Historian, at 406.444.6258 or visit the Bridge Adoption web page for more information on MDT's bridge adoption program.
Consider adopting an historic bridge for your project. It could be cheaper than building new and would add character by having an old bridge as a component of your bicycle and pedestrian pathway. The recent Craig Bridge move is an example of a successful adoption.
The points of contact listed below have some experience and can help you get some idea about the process
and restoration challenges in adopting old bridges.
|Doug Wicks, 406.761.4966
Recreational Trails, Inc
P.O. Box 553
Great Falls, MT 59403-0553
(Several Bridges in Great Falls)
|Roger Axtman, 406.622.5494
City of Fort Benton
P.O. Box 8
Fort Benton, MT 59442
(Missouri River Bridge in Ft Benton)
|Boone Whitmer, 406.525.3289
Wolf Point, MT 59201
(Lewis & Clark Bridge in Wolf Pt)
|W. G. Gilbert, III, P.C.
Rotary Club of Dillon, MT
P.O. Box 306
Dillon, MT 59725
(Big Hole River Overflow Bridge)