Fire departments raffle off chance for first bridge crossing

September 30, 2018

The U.S. 2 bridge over the South Fork of the Flathead River is nearing completion and you could be the first person to walk or drive across the structure.

The Hungry Horse and Martin City fire departments are holding a raffle and the winner gets to be the first person to cross the bridge once it’s completed.

“You could be part of history,” said Cal Grise of Columbia Falls. Grise came up with the idea to have a raffle to cross the bridge. He contacted state Sen. Dee Brown, R-Coram, who made some calls at the state level and received the go-ahead from state and federal officials to have a ribbon-cutting and first crossing of the bridge.

“If you want something done, talk to Dee,” Grise said. “She pretty much set it up.”

Grise bought the first 10 tickets himself.

Raffle tickets are 200 worth of tickets herself so far.

So far, about $400 worth of tickets have been sold, said Ashley Thompson of the Martin City Fire Department.

Construction of the new bridge started last June by Great Falls contractor Sletten Construction. The bridge, which will feature a pedestrian and bike crossing, is slated for completion later this fall and will also have improved access to the South Fork once it’s completed. It should be safer for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross. The old bridge didn’t have a sidewalk or bike lane.

All of the funds will go toward the fire departments for safety and other equipment. Both departments could use volunteers. Right now they have about 20 on the roster, but could use more, Thompson noted. Folks who are interested can attend the department meetings each Wednesday at the Martin City Fire Department or message the department on its Facebook page.

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