Bridge work on schedule


Construction of the Yellowstone River Bridge on Livingston’s east side is right on schedule and should be complete in September, according to Montana Department of Transportation officials.

The goal has been to open the bridge to traffic by Sept. 17, but it may be ready as soon as Sept. 1, said MDT Construction Project Manager Paul Cogley.

 “We’re cautiously optimistic,” Cogley said about the speculated bridge opening.

About 24 employees of Sletten Construction — the company building the bridge —  and three MDT employees have been working 12-hour shifts five days a week to make headway on the new structure, he said.

This week crews completed the deck, which is the driving surface of the bridge. The new surface will take about a month to cure, so workers are now focusing on reconstructing the Bennett and Park Street intersection.

What used to be a wye intersection will now be a right angle intersection.

Traffic delays while the intersection is under construction can be expected  for the next three to four weeks, Cogley said. 

On Wednesday, work crews also started removing the temporary work bridge they built to help with construction of the new bridge. The temporary bridge should be fully removed in about two weeks, which will allow Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks to re-evaluate the Yellowstone River closure below Mayor’s Landing Fishing Access, Cogley said.  

Other major projects before the bridge is finished will include building the guardrails and the approaches to the bridge. 

Cogley said there was a minor setback a few weeks ago when a wet spell slowed work, but a mild spring and relatively low water have enabled workers to make necessary progress.

“The weather’s been pretty good for building a bridge,” he said.

MDT officials and Sletten Construction representatives continue to invite the public to attend their regular bridge progress meetings, which they hold the first and third Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Best Western Yellowstone Inn.