An emergency closure is in effect along a section of the Swan River near the Montana Highway 209 bridge in Ferndale due to hazards in the water.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks adopted the emergency closure Friday, June 29. The Swan River is temporarily closed to boating and floating from the Swan River Fishing Access Site off South Ferndale Road to the Highway 209 Bridge in Ferndale. The closure will remain in effect for 120 days or less if the river is deemed safe for recreation. Advisory signs are being posted at area access sites. Fishing from the shore remains possible.
The Highway 209 bridge on the Swan River is under construction and a temporary bridge currently exists. The temporary bridge has unique abutments that combined with high-water levels is catching debris and creating swirling waves. Several accidents have already occurred under the bridge. Previous attempts at mitigating hazards, including news releases, social media notifications, signage and navigational buoys, have proven ineffective.
With the peak water recreation season approaching, officials believe that more accidents and capsizing could likely occur under the temporary bridge. Persons recreating under the bridge are at risk of injury or drowning due to dangerous conditions. Portaging around the bridge is not possible, but boaters can launch on the Swan River just north of the bridge. Please follow legal parking requirements and stay a safe distance away from construction work.
FWP adopted the emergency closure in collaboration with the Montana Department of Transportation, Sletten Construction and in consultation with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.