It has been almost six years since the South Reserve Bitterroot Trail Bridge opened to help connect our trails and to make it easier for people to get east and west on the south side of Missoula.  This April will be the six-year anniversary of the opening of the bridge. At a cost of over $4 million. Has it been worth it?  

From Downtown Missoula To Hamilton

The pedestrian bridge is used to connect the Bitterroot Trail, which is a 50-mile trail that runs from downtown Missoula to Hamilton making it easier for bike riders and pedestrians to utilize the trail. Trying to cross Reserve Street is no easy feat and hasn’t been for years. Even with the traffic lights at Brooks and Reserve, it isn't easy. This is a way to make it easier and safer to make the trek.  

Credit: City Of Missoula Parks and Recreation/Canva
Credit: City Of Missoula Parks and Recreation/Canva

I Was Skeptical, But That Changed

During the first four years of having the bridge in use, I was cynical about how much use the bridge would get. I would have told you that the cost wasn’t worth it. Over the last two years, my perspective and opinions have changed. I travel South Reserve Street every day and at first, I rarely saw anyone using the bridge. In the last two years that has changed. I see bikes, walkers, and strollers every day. I even saw a “Prom Date” having dinner on the bridge. It is being used. 

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It's Only Going To Get More Use

Because of where I live, using the bridge isn’t much of an option for me personally. That doesn’t mean it won’t be an option for me in the future; when I get the courage to cross Highway 93 to get to the Bitterroot Trail. With the amount of expansion that is happening in the South Hills and Upper Miller Creek, it looks like the use of the bridge is only going to increase over the years to come. If the city ever decides to put a pedestrian bridge over Brooks Street, I can say confidently, that I would use both of those bridges almost daily.  

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