One thing about Western Montana. We have a huge percentage of the state's bridges because of all of the river crossings and wetlands. 

Now the Montana Department of Transportation is embarking on a huge effort to repair and preserve all of the state bridges south of Missoula, 41 along most of the Bitterroot Valley. 

The bridges come in all lengths and locations with most located on Highway 93 between Florence and Sula, most crossing streams and other waterways leading toward the Bitterroot River. 

However, other bridges are also covered in the massive plan, the Eastside Highway, Victor Crossing over the Bitterroot River, and Main Street west of downtown Hamilton. 

MDT says the work would involve repairing the aging concrete bridge decks, minor joint repair sealing cracks, thin lift overlays, and something else drivers will appreciate, smoothing out the transitions where the bridge decks connect to the adjoining road. Not all bridges will require all of the repairs. The idea is to replace the worn and cracking bridge decks as a cost-effective way to preserve the spans and keep them in operation saving hundreds of millions of dollars over expensive repairs. 

The work is likely to cause some disruption of traffic, with detours and lane changes. The work is similar to what MDT has been doing over the past 15 years with the much larger bridges along I-90. 

The state wants people to review the plan and offer their comments online, or by mailing comments to the MDT's regional office in Missoula. This project is UPN 9820. 

Construction won't start until 2024 and depends on acquiring funding for all the work. 

READ MORE: MDT has long list of major bridge repairs in Western Montana

Yellowstone National Park Rebuilds After Historic Flooding

After catastrophic flooding damaged portions of Yellowstone National Park in June of 2022, major reconstruction was necessary to make the park passable again. The following are photos of the improvement projects at Old Gardiner Road and the Northeast Entrance Road. All photos are courtesy of the National Park Service, photographer Jacob W. Frank.