South Fork bridge will be reduced to one lane; expect delays

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Santa Claus at the South Fork bridge grand opening last year. The bridge needs repairs after crews left footprints in the concrete deck after initial construction.

The new bridge over the South Fork of the Flathead will see more work in the coming weeks and will be reduced to one-lane traffic, the Montana Department of Transportation announced.

The work will start Monday.

This will be a 24-hour, 7 day a week operation with continuous one-way traffic day and night and temporary traffic lights will be used to direct eastbound and westbound traffic through a single lane.

Motorists should expect wait times, and are reminded to watch for signs, workers and equipment in the area and travel at posted speeds until signs indicate the work zone has ended. Fines double in work zones.

The company has to put new concrete down where workers left footprints in the concrete during initial construction of the bridge, which was finished last fall.

The fix requires cutting out the concrete with the footprints, and putting a new layer down. Not all of the bridge has footprints.

Crews then use a blanket to keep the concrete warm as it cures. Normal fall weather has been fleeting this year, and temperatures have been much colder than normal.

The highway department didn’t give a timeframe for when the work would be completed.

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