10th Street Bridge renamed for Arlyne Reichert

The 10th Street Bridge, which is owned by the City of Great Falls, has been renamed “Arlyne Reichert Community Heritage Bridge.”

Commissioners voted during their Sept. 7 meeting to rename the bridge, which is no longer used for vehicle traffic, but is planned for reopening as a pedestrian and bike crossing to connect the River’s Edge Trail.

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Reichert was a founder of Preservation Cascade, Inc., which worked to save the bridge from demolition and raised more than $1 million to restore it and be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Commissioner Mary Moe, who proposed the name change.

The bridge was designed by engineer Ralph Adams and architect George Shanley and was completed in 1920. It’s the oldest and longest open-spandrel ribbed-arch concrete bridge in Montana, according to Moe.

The city took ownership of the bridge in 1998 from the Montana Department of Transportation and through an agreement with Preservation Cascade, the nonprofit has raised the funds for restoring the bridge.

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“The bridge represents the unique beauty of our city’s early transportation history, combining skillful engineering with graceful elegance to complement our city’s most significant natural resource—the Missouri River,” according to Moe. “Thanks to the work inspired and led by Arlyne Reichert, the Tenth Street Bridge recently entered its second century distinguishing the landscape of this community, reminding all of us of the aspirations of a bygone era and giving each of us a beautiful way to remember people and times gone by.”

Reichert has been a driving force behind preserving the bridge and celebrated her 96th birthday in August. The plan had been to celebrate her birthday along with the 100th anniversary of the bridge last summer, but the pandemic waylaid those plans.

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Reichert has also, according to Moe:

  • served as a delegate to the 1972 Montana constitutional convention;
  • served as a Cascade County Study Commissioner, a Montana state legislator, a trustee on the Great Falls Public Library board, a founder and president of the Great Falls Chapter of the American Cancer Society, an officer for the Great Falls Public Radio Association, a president of the Great Falls Chapter of the Montana Rhodes Scholarship Committee; a chair of the National Civic League; a member of the Montana Comprehensive Health Council of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission; and a member of the advisory committee responsible for the restoration of Montana’s state capitol.

In April, commissioners approved a land swap for Independence Bank, which is being constructed at the corner of River Drive and 9th Street North, that will allow for the future connection of the River’s Edge Trail with the 10th Street Bridge.

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This weekend, for the Big River Ruckus and the Luminaria Walk, the south end of the bridge will be temporarily open for the public to be able to cross the bridge and continue on the trail in either direction, or access the bridge from the south shore.

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It will be open Friday and Saturday and then close again until the trail connection is complete, according to Great Falls Park and Recreation.