Nixon Gulch Bridge

A truck crosses Nixon Bridge off Nixon Gulch Road outside of Manhattan in this 2017 Chronicle file photo.

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Montana officials are closing a road and a section of the Gallatin River for parts of two days later this month so construction crews can work on replacing a historic bridge north of Manhattan.

Nixon Gulch Road and the section of the Gallatin River immediately surrounding Nixon Bridge is set to be closed from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22. Crews with Stahly Engineering will be setting 122-foot-long beams over the river for the south span of the new bridge.

Morgan Jacobsen, a spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said river users on these days should look for alternative places along the Gallatin to put in and take out. If people are far enough upstream or downstream from the site, it shouldn’t be a problem, he said.

Concerns for safety prompted Gallatin County to approve rebuilding the century-old Nixon Bridge. Officials worried the bridge’s low weight capacity and narrow width would prevent emergency vehicles from reaching the Gallatin River Ranch subdivision in the Horseshoe Hills.

Many opposed replacing the bridge, as they thought the one-lane, through-truss steel bridge should be preserved as a historic structure. County commissioners agreed to preserve a portion of the old bridge after it is removed.

Kathy Thompson, a project engineer with Stahly Engineering, said the company is planning to place beams on the north span of the new bridge around mid-October. Another temporary river closure will be needed for public safety, she said.

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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