Nashua Overpass Delayed
September 26, 2018
Montana Department of Transportation Regional Director Shane Mintz, reached out to inform the Courier that initial estimates for the opening of the Nashua railroad overpass will not be met. The department had initially estimated the bridge would be open this fall, but following scheduling delays, they are now hopeful the project will be open to traffic by next May or June.
“We were pretty confident it was going to be open to traffic this fall,” said Mintz, “but that’s not gonna happen.” The regional director said delays were pretty nominal but stemmed mostly from an issue in scheduling with Burlington Northern Santa Fe. He explained that, in order to lay the beams across the bridge they would need a period of extended time with no rail traffic.
After making requests and sorting out an issue with BNSF,. the date to place the beams was finally decided on, and, at press time, they were expected to go up Sept. 25. After the beams are in place, Mintz said crews will not start pouring the concrete until next March or April due to the potential for cold weather affecting the structure.
“We could use cold weather pouring techniques,” explained Mintz. but he added, “We don’t want to do that, we want to do it right and have the best product we can.” The director explained that cold weather concrete pours can be costly and can lead to issues in the structure. He described it saying, “There’s more money involved and higher risk.”
Mintz did express excitement that, by coordinating with the town of Nashua, they were able to complete the project within the town limits ahead of the bridge. This allowed the crews to complete the streets and gutters of the town despite the overpass not being ready for traffic, an original stipulation of the project.
“Originally we had bids that the contractor would not start the in-town work before the bridge was complete,” said Mintz, “but since the city was already doing work on the water system, we were able to get in there and finish that portion of the project.”