Powder River Examiner -

Moorhead Bridge Construction expected this spring


January 7, 2021

Other bridges to follow in 2022

A schedule of construction for the damaged county bridges was recently provided to the Powder River County Commissioners. The Moorhead bridge will be bid out in February of this year, with construction on the bridge expected to take place between March and June. County Commissioner Lee Randall told us that the work schedule may be dependent on the whims of the Powder, for example if a large spring flood comes through, the work may be delayed. At the time of publication, snowpack in the mountains and upstream is rather miniscule, so such delays may be avoided.

The Powder River County Disaster Recovery - Transportation Route Resiliency project will replace three bridges in the county, at Moorhead across Powder River, the lower Little Powder River bridge, and at Horse Creek. The project will also replace the culvert system on Pilgrim Creek with a bridge. Additionally, 18 miles of roadway resurfacing will take place on the East Powder River Road, from Horse Creek south.

Construction on the remaining bridges and roadway is expected to take place in May through November of 2022.

The Moorhead Bridge was shut down in the fall of 2019 by the state of Montana due to structural issues with the bridge. In the ensuing timeframe, residents have had to make a 40+ mile detour around through Broadus to conduct business on the other side of the river. The proposed bridge replacement at Moorhead will use a prefabricated “modular” bridge design on top of the existing bridge abutments. Randall said that the design of the remaining bridges is still in the works, though the single span prefabricated design may work well for the other projects, and regardless of design their will be no more overhead height restrictions on the Little Powder Bridge, which has proven to be an issue for ranch traffic over the years.

Claims made for the modular design include rapid construction time, reduced environmental impact, and moderate cost.

The budget for all the projects is around 8.5 million dollars, with 1.4 million of that cost budgeted for the construction of the Moorhead bridge project. In 2020, Julie Emmons Stoddard with Southeastern Montana Develoment Corporation, announced that Powder River County was awarded with 7 million dollars in grants to fund the projects, through two grants from the Economic Development Administration and the Montana Department of Commerce.


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