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Toston community striving to save historic bridge

Toston Bridge.JPG
Posted at 9:08 AM, Nov 14, 2023

HELENA — The Toston community is fighting to save their historic bridge.

On November 8, a community meeting was held to discuss the future of the structure with the Broadwater County commissioners and a state representative. Toston residents who attended the meeting said they believed the officials are looking at removing the nationally recognized landmark.

On Monday, MTN spoke with two Toston residents about what this structure means to the community.

“To me, it’s an icon and it needs to stay,” said Bryl Newman, a Toston resident.

The bridge was built from 1919 to 1920 and has been serving Toston for over a century.

The bridge spans 525 feet long over the Missouri River.

Other than occasional replacements to the timber deck, the rest of the bridge is unchanged from its original construction.

In 2005, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“In the summertime, a lot of people walk over the bridge, a lot of people fish off that bridge, there we a lot of senior pictures, including my two daughters, taken on the bridge. It’s part of Toston,” said Jody Arden, a Toston resident.

It also has provided a safer place for cyclists.

“A lot of cyclists use that bridge because it keeps them of the old narrow overpass which was deadly,” said Newman.

In June, of this year the bridge was closed to all traffic by the Montana Department of Transportation.

Rising water levels in the Missouri River we reported as the reason for the closure, and the bridge hasn’t reopened since.

The community has set up a Facebook group, “Save the Toston Bridge,” and submitted a petition.

“We’re not trying to make waves we just want to save the bridge,” said Newman.