Lolo Street Bridge Project

Share Lolo Street Bridge Project on Facebook Share Lolo Street Bridge Project on Twitter Share Lolo Street Bridge Project on Linkedin Email Lolo Street Bridge Project link

Deteriorating bridge. Image from 2021

Missoula County received $2.9 million in grant funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law to help fund the replacement of this bridge. The award was from the PROTECT grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Lolo Street Bridge is one of two major bridges crossing Rattlesnake Creek in the Rattlesnake residential area. Missoula County is charged with maintaining all non-MDT bridges in the county including those owned by the City of Missoula. The project was originally scoped to rehabilitate the existing concrete bridge and provide sidewalks while maintaining the bridge’s current vehicle capacity. As the county’s engineering consultant investigated the bridge foundation conditions, it became apparent that replacement was a better option reducing potential long term maintenance issues as well as offering up the opportunity to better address the concerns that have been shared by those commenting on the proposed project. A decision was made to construct an entirely new bridge rather than simply trying to rehab the existing bridge. With a new bridge, the width also becomes more flexible allowing for options to accommodate non-motorized users.

The proposed bridge now has 11.1’ driving lanes that align better with the existing typical section. The non-motorized space is proposed to be 10’ wide on both sides accommodating both cyclists and pedestrians.

Missoula County will continue to coordinate with the City of Missoula and the public to find a bridge design that meets the needs of the neighborhood while also maintaining its character.

Preliminary plans are available on this site. Staff collected comments for months and held an open house on May 31, 2023, to hear thoughts and questions from the community on the project.

This project provided a 30% design package that included a basic set of plans and estimated costs that was included in grant applications for potential funding sources. The County, City, Metropolitan Planning Organization and DJ&A Engineering submitted a grant application in July 2023. The County received $2.9 million in grant funding for the project, and it will use that money to complete the plans, specifications and estimates and pay for construction and construction administration.

Deteriorating bridge. Image from 2021

Missoula County received $2.9 million in grant funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law to help fund the replacement of this bridge. The award was from the PROTECT grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Lolo Street Bridge is one of two major bridges crossing Rattlesnake Creek in the Rattlesnake residential area. Missoula County is charged with maintaining all non-MDT bridges in the county including those owned by the City of Missoula. The project was originally scoped to rehabilitate the existing concrete bridge and provide sidewalks while maintaining the bridge’s current vehicle capacity. As the county’s engineering consultant investigated the bridge foundation conditions, it became apparent that replacement was a better option reducing potential long term maintenance issues as well as offering up the opportunity to better address the concerns that have been shared by those commenting on the proposed project. A decision was made to construct an entirely new bridge rather than simply trying to rehab the existing bridge. With a new bridge, the width also becomes more flexible allowing for options to accommodate non-motorized users.

The proposed bridge now has 11.1’ driving lanes that align better with the existing typical section. The non-motorized space is proposed to be 10’ wide on both sides accommodating both cyclists and pedestrians.

Missoula County will continue to coordinate with the City of Missoula and the public to find a bridge design that meets the needs of the neighborhood while also maintaining its character.

Preliminary plans are available on this site. Staff collected comments for months and held an open house on May 31, 2023, to hear thoughts and questions from the community on the project.

This project provided a 30% design package that included a basic set of plans and estimated costs that was included in grant applications for potential funding sources. The County, City, Metropolitan Planning Organization and DJ&A Engineering submitted a grant application in July 2023. The County received $2.9 million in grant funding for the project, and it will use that money to complete the plans, specifications and estimates and pay for construction and construction administration.

Let us know your thoughts on the preliminary plans for the Lolo Street Bridge over Rattlesnake Creek.

Share your feedback on the preliminary plans!


Missoula County received $2.9 million in grant funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law to replace this bridge.

The bridge replacement is a good idea, but the sidewalk on the north side of the bridge is a complete waste of space and money. This would be a sidewalk to nowhere on both the east and west side of the bridge. Make a large sidewalk on the south side and protected bike lanes on either side of the bridge.

SKI BUM 10 months ago

The plan for a new bridge with two lanes and bike ped lanes on each side will serve the Rattlesnake well. With only two bridges across the creek in the Rattlesnake it's important to have a bridge that will function well and last for a long time. Please consider the need for this bridge to provide egress for the Rattlesnake in case of wildfire. I expect more residential development in the years ahead, especially as we address the affordable housing crisis, and hope the new bridge will be able to accommodate larger numbers of residential use.

The bridge is also a key part of the bike/ped system and I love the addition of bike/ped lanes on both sides. I hope the constructions plans will allow the bike/ped lanes to be fully integrated into the approaches on both sides of the bridge. Also, the east side of the bridge is a major Lolo Street crossing place for bikes and peds (especially as a route to school). As use increases, is there anything that can be done within this project to make that crossing safer? Drivers can really cruise off the bridge going east and may not be looking for kids crossing the street here. Great project. Thank you!

Pelah 12 months ago

We live near Lolo Street on the west side and have used this bridge daily for at least the last 10 years. There is ABSOLUTELY a need for a functional bridge remodel/replacement that includes 2 lane traffic and sidewalks. I work in emergency management, and a second point of egress over Rattlesnake Creek is vitally important. Removing the bridge, or restricting to pedestrian only would put the entire upper Rattlesnake population at risk. If a wildfire (not if, only when) or an avalanche (remember 2014) cut off access via one side of the valley, lives could be at stake without a second escape route. Driver speed is a different issue that needs to be addressed as well, but making a bridge deliberately narrow to prevent speeders is flawed logic. Make the bridge safe for vehicles and pedestrians. Let the police deal with speed issues.

cottrell07 about 1 year ago

We live in the Rattlesnake and use the bridge multiple times a day. My family bikes, walks, and drives across that bridge in every season. I am thrilled that it is getting replaced and I do not like waste, but the deteriorating sidewalk has proven dangerous to both my kids and my vehicle. In looking at the plans, I am so grateful for so many aspects of what you have included:
1. When I am with the kids, and even sometimes on my own, I bike on the sidewalk across the bridge because I find that the turns, surface and narrowness of the road make me feel safer on the sidewalk. However, when there are other users, or pedestrians, it is very tight and dangerous. A wider sidewalk and potential bike/ped lanes will address this.
2. I am grateful that you are keeping the bridge relatively short and unimposing – the turns and feeling of the street will remain so that traffic will still be slowed on either side.
3. Please make sure to maintain signage that signals a cross walk and children crossing – many people cross at the east end of the bridge and lower speed is necessary to feel safe.
4. A wider road is rarely something I would ever advocate for, but having enough room on the bridge for multiple users is vital. For work and volunteering, we drive big trucks to get people the building material s they need. I have ripped a tire on that bare rebar and look forward to something safer. Clearly my user error there, but when another car is passing and the road is limited by snow, it is narrow and dangerous.
I am grateful for your thoughtful design and look forward to a safer route.

Becky Douglas about 1 year ago

I’ve lived near this bridge long enough to have walked it daily while going to Lincoln school, got my tongue stuck on the icy metal railing: neither of which is any criteria for judging how to to improve on this bridge. But I believe rumble strips should be placed at either end and to have just one pedestrian crossing. When it was decided to angle the east side so much I thought there would be a slew of accidents, but I don’t think that is the case. What is so egregious is how long a project like this takes. (Putting in the new sidewalk on Lolo took 4 months). Widening the bridge is not necessary: to do so would increase speed among drivers in a heavily used walk/bike area.

Chris A about 1 year ago

I've lived on Lolo Street next to the bridge for 23 years. We have a speeding problem, not a traffic flow problem. I am not in favor of widening the bridge or widening or straightening traffic lanes. Wider and straighter traffic lanes will only increase speeds even more. We need additonal traffic calming in any design, not removal of any existing traffic calming-speed reducing features. Widening the bridge could also trigger eventual widening of Lolo Street, which would degrade the neighborhood, and result in Lolo Street becoming a major thoroughfare.

Ross about 1 year ago

While I support rehabilitating the Lolo Street bridge, I do not support widening the bridge. I live on Lolo Street and see vehicles regularly speeding through our neighborhood, until they are slowed by the bridge. In 2012 the City placed a wide sidewalk on the south side of Lolo Street west of the bridge and it works well as is.

SallyJ about 1 year ago

The comments on so far have been wonderful and great aspects to consider in the rehabilitation! I really like the comment by Henri R with making this a one-lane bridge (likely with some kind of motion sensored stoplight so traffic could still go both directions) which 1) provides the ability to make pedestrian and bike lanes, 2) keeps motorized traffic speed manageable, and 3) the foot, bike, and motorized vehicle volume is supported then on both sides of the bridge. I know we need emergency routes out of the valley which a this could still provide; traffic likely will only be going one-way when that happens. And the Rattlesnake Valley is a neighborhood. It would be nice to keep the traffic more neighborhood-ish. The current speed of vehicles on Van Buren/Rattlesnake and Duncan/Greenough (I live on this side of the valley) has been way over the speed limit. It would be horrible to see vehicles driving those speeds on Lolo Street also (which past on some comments, suggest it is happening)!

VickyD about 1 year ago

Here's a request on one detail. The east end of the bridge has an abrupt turn onto Lolo St. Or heading onto the bridge from the east side requires a fairly sharp turn onto the bridge. This strikes me as a collision danger for cars passing in opposite directions at that point. If possible, I'd ask for the connection between bridge and road to be gentled in its traffic flow connection.

Eric M about 1 year ago

We live on Wylie Ave and are generally in favor of rehabilitating the Lolo Street bridge.

We do have a couple of comments:

- Standard lane widths are 10' and 11' lanes are used on designated truck and bus routes. 12' lanes seems excessive.

- Lolo street is narrow on either side of the bridge and it would be very difficult to widen due to setbacks for houses. It doesn't seem like it would make sense to add bike lanes to the bridge when there are not bike lanes on Lolo Street on either side of the bridge.

M & C about 1 year ago

I'm not in favor of a wider bridge. The right of way width on Lolo St and Greenough Drive are too narrow for the volume of traffic, unlike Van Buren and Rattlesnake Dr. There is too much traffic that is only using Lolo to cross back and forth from Rattlesnake Dr. Develop a functional crossover lower down the valley with a round-about at Vine St with access along Gregory Park to get cars over to the Rattlesnake Dr side. Even buying out the 4 houses on Vine would probably be cheaper than developing a wider bridge on Lolo.
By removing the bridge, there would be less impact to the creek. Or use Lolo St bridge only for pedestrian and bikes. If it has to have motorized traffic, put in speed bumps along Greenough and Lolo.

Janet K over 1 year ago

I'm not in favor of expanding wider the Lolo St bridge. Cars are going too fast as it is. There is too much traffic on Lolo St and Greenough Drive for the right of way width. Put in speed bumps if we must keep it for motor vehicles. The majority of the cars are crossing over to get back and forth to the Rattlesnake Drive side. The width of Van Buren is better suited for the volume of traffic.
An alternative is to put in a round-about at Vine Street and make it a crossover to get to Rattlesnake Dr along Gregory Park. Even buying out the few houses along Vine St would probably be cheaper than putting in a wider bridge. Make the Lolo St Bridge for pedestrian and bikes.

Janet K over 1 year ago

I also drive or walk or bike this bridge every day. I think the curve on the east side is very dangerous, especially in winter. People speed around it cutting into west driving lane, because it is too narrow. Going west I often have to drive almost on the curb to avoid oncoming cars. I truly think it needs to be widened and the curve straightened, with room for bikes. Yes widening will increase speed, so I think speed bumps on both sides of the bridge are needed, and a better solution. Cause the current narrow state and that curve are NOT stopping the speeders! All the comments attest to this. Keeping it narrow will not solve the speeding. Please put in speed bumps!! Thank you!

Cathy S over 1 year ago

The bridge needs to be designed to have an are or areas for both pedestrians and bicycles as well as automobiles. How about an extra-wide sidewalk on either side of the bridge with entrance ramps so the bicycles can use the sidewalks. Otherwise, narrow sidewalks on either side and reasonably wide bike lanes adjacent to the auto lanes.

Peter L. over 1 year ago

I live on Lolo Street and regularly watch cars and trucks go by at 25%-50% over the speed limit. Making the bridge & lanes wider for motor vehicles will just encourage them to go
even faster. It is best to leave the car lanes narrow, not straighten them at all, and used any increased width for bike lanes and modest sidewalks. I know the concrete fans like super wide sidewalks but 3'-5' is fine and allows pedestrians to walk side-by-side.

Steve over 1 year ago

As a lifelong resident of the Rattlesnake, I use this bridge regularly on foot, in car, and on bike. The most important issue with the current configuration of this bridge is motor vehicle speed. And wintertime pedestrian crossing. I think the narrowness of the bridge helps slow traffic down, but not always. (I have numerous accounts of bad drivers navigating the bridge this winter). It seems that making wider lanes is like inviting a person to an interstate highway. Does a vehicle lane really need to be 12' wide? Do pedestrian lanes really need to be 6' wide? Could the northside non-vehicle lane be used for pedestrians and the southside non-vehicle lane be used for bicycles (connecting to the Missoula Ave. lane)? Do we really want to replace a short bridge with a gargantuan, hoity-toity mess? My input is that I would like the new bridge to be as small as possible--try to maintain an understated, simple, utilitarian, small neighborhood crossing (which will also decrease the human footprint on the waterway/habitat/corridor), including: some MAJOR way to slow traffic down; TWO 'small' lanes for vehicle traffic; pedestrian lane(s) (friendly to kiddos on bikes!); and maybe a bicycle lane -- this bridge is such a short stretch that I would feel comfortable crossing the bridge on a bicycle in a vehicle lane IF the aforementioned traffic measures were put in place (e.g. a bicycle would actually be going faster than a car!).

TRing over 1 year ago

There are so many great comments in these posts. I use this bridge daily on my drive into town & occasionally as a pedestrian. It is critical for vehicle access (daily & emergency) but I think we should not make lanes any wider than necessary. Put in those rumble strips or other calming devices to slow traffic down. Put in bike lanes or shared lanes and make one good sidewalk on the south side. Please don't make this bridge excessively wide. Traffic calming will go a long way to make it a safer bridge once structural issues are addressed. And I think the concept of a single driving lane for vehicles is worth considering.

B Young over 1 year ago

I am strongly in favor of protected bike and pedestrian lanes traveling in both directions across the bridge, and I am advocating for a single driving lane for the bridge. A narrow single driving lane (ie, one lane shared for both directions) would assist with traffic calming along Lolo Street and protect pedestrian and bicycle safety. The current bridge is very dangerous for bikes, pedestrians, and vehicle traffic as there are visibility limitations due to the curve of the street and proximity of nearby cross streets (Missoula Ave and Cales Court); narrowing to one lane over the bridge would discourage high speed vehicle traffic and increase safety for all, including vehicle drivers.

Henry R. over 1 year ago

I am definitely in favor of rehabbing the bridge or getting a brand new one, in addition to going as wide as possible with sidewalks on both sides and at least one bike lane. As our kids have aged from being pulled behind us to biking alone, and nearly driving, this is one of the worst spots in the neighborhood for getting around on a bike. With the beautiful bike lane on Missoula Ave, there is even more bike/ped pressure on the Lolo St bridge. As well, for the majority of the year when it is icy and/or snowy, there are some pinch points where it is hard to get past a bus or larger vehicle coming in the opposite direction, and there are icy-snowy bump outs that throw your car around. This gets sketchy.
Some sort of rippl3 strip leading to the bridge in both directions would help as a speed check.

Molly E. Bradford over 1 year ago

I'd like to add one more thing to my previous comment. Perhaps speed bumps (speed tables, "topes") should be installed at either end of the bridge as an enforced speed slowing device. A sign can be ignored. Speed bumps can't. If we can force people to slow down approaching and leaving the bridge, that eliminates speeding on the bridge as a problem. Speed bumps are kind of irritating, especially when first installed, but once you get used to them, it's really not an issue. And we have the nearby precedent of speed bumps on Missoula Avenue as an example.

JP over 1 year ago
Page last updated: 09 Apr 2024, 08:23 AM