New $13.2 million bridge will undergo repairs to fix footprints

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MDT Transportation director Mike Tooley speaks at the South Fork Bridge grand opening.

The newly completed $13.2 million South Fork Bridge has some footprints in its concrete deck. As such, the bridge will have to undergo repairs this spring, the Montana Department of Transportation has announced.

Before concrete was able to completely harden, footprints were made by crews laying blankets to prevent the deck from freezing, MDT said in a release.

Great Falls contractor Sletten Construction will cover the cost of the repairs — no taxpayer dollars will be involved to correct the damage. Sletten Construction and the Montana Department of Transportation are in the process of identifying the best method to repair the bridge deck. The onset of winter forced crews to delay repairs until springtime.

“Those footprints will hold moisture and would reduce the life expectancy of the surface of the deck. That’s why we’re going to have to do repairs in the spring,” MDT engineer Bob Vosen said. “We’re working together to come up with the best possible solution to ensure that the bridge deck is fully repaired. Sletten has been a great partner over the course of this project.”

Vosen said MDT and Sletten will meet this week to discuss options for the fix. He noted that the bridge design is expected to last 75 years, so whatever repair is made, it will have to meet those standards.

The bridge opened to fanfare on Dec. 18 with a ribbon cutting and a host of political dignitaries attending, as a raffle was held to determine who would cross the bridge first.

The raffle benefited the Hungry Horse and Martin City Fire Departments.

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