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Work On Gardiner Bridge Begins September

The Yellowstone River Bridge connects the north and south sides of Gardiner, Montana, June 30, 2009.
Spencereblake/FLICKR (CC BY-NC 2.0)
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The Yellowstone River Bridge connects the north and south sides of Gardiner, Montana, June 30, 2009.

The Montana Department of Transportation will renovate a historic bridge that connects the north and south sides of Gardiner, starting September 03. Drivers should expect delays.

The nearly 90-year-old Yellowstone River Bridge is the main connection between the north and south sides of town for residents, workers and tourists.

The Department of Transportation says the bridge is still safe but needs some rehabilitative work to prevent further damage from the high levels of traffic each summer. Traffic will be reduced to one lane while construction crews remove and replace the bridge’s surface and approaches.

Drivers should be prepared for 15-minute delays or use the Old Yellowstone Trail Road at Corwin Springs, seven miles north of Gardiner.

"People will just want to pack their patience and be aware that it’s happening," Neala Siegle, the executive director of the Gardiner Chamber of Commerce.

Gardiner is one of the busiest gateway communities to Yellowstone National Park, and around 60,000 vehicles drive over the bridge each month during the peak tourist season. Siegle says she’s glad that the bridge is being repaired, but she’s concerned that the construction will exacerbate congestion during the first two weeks of September.

"Really in the last five years, that time frame has been increasingly busy with tourists coming to the park. The weather’s still nice. The kids are back in school. So really it’s just become this second wave in visitation," says Siegle.

Phase one of the project is scheduled to finish mid-November. Phase Two will take place April through early June 2020. The bridge was resurfaced in 2015.

The funding for the project is a combination of federal and state fuel tax dollars.