On Monday, March 17, the Whitefish City Council will vote on whether they accept a design concept for a new pedestrian bridge that would connect two neighborhoods over the Whitefish River.
The bridge would span the river just upstream of the existing train bridge, connecting the Birch Point Road neighborhood to the bike path at Oregon Ave near the City Beach.
In addition to extending the bike path and improving pedestrian access to the City Beach neighborhood, the bridge would also support the weight of emergency vehicles, allowing emergency access to the 50 or so homes in the Birch Point Road area during times when the only other access to that neighborhood is cut off by a railroad crossing.
Whitefish Public Works Director John Wilson tells us that it has been an important goal for the city to connect bike paths and bridge the river whenever possible.
"The river is a significant physical obstacle and it's one of... this will be our third bridge across the river. They're all far apart but make really useful links to trails on either side of the river," says Wilson.
If the design concept prepared by Thomas, Dean & Hoskins Engineering is approved the project could go to bid in April with construction taking place this summer.