Swan River - Bridge (Bigfork)
Frequently Asked Questions
What was recommended?
The Feasibility Study recommended removing and replacing the existing bridge with an overhead steel truss, carrying a single lane for vehicles and a separated walkway.
Why was a Feasibility Study completed?
The bridge has deteriorated and will continue to deteriorate. Without repair or replacement, the bridge’s use will continue to be reduced and, eventually, will be closed. This study was an initial step to identify options to repair, replace or rehabilitate the existing bridge and to seek public concerns and comments.
Who did the study?
MDT hired a consulting firm, KLJ, to complete the study on behalf of Flathead County.
Will this become a modern, two-lane bridge?
Not recommended, although it was considered. Flathead County and MDT recognize that the unique nature of Bigfork, low traffic numbers and the community issues support continuation of the current one-lane width. Widening the bridge was also anticipated to require additional right-of-way at the roads leading up to the bridge which was strongly opposed.
Will the bridge have a sidewalk (area for pedestrians)?
Yes. A walkway has been identified as a requirement and would provide a single walkway meeting current standards for accessibility (ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act).
How can I provide further comment?
The feasibility study is complete. MDT encourages public input and you may submit additional comments to MDT via the MDT comment form.
How would a bridge project be funded?
Flathead County may seek funding from MDT’s off-system bridge program.
How long will the existing bridge be open?
Due to the uncertainty of corrosion and use, we cannot predict a date when the bridge would be closed. However, historical records and the observed deterioration indicate the bridge is near the end of its ability to carry traffic. Regular bridge observations and inspections by Flathead County and MDT will continue and may determine that the bridge needs to be closed.
Is there special funding available for a historic bridge?
There are no funds reserved solely for historical bridges in the most-recent federal highway bill.