Roads Closed Near Merc as Crews Rush to Save Historic Building From Collapse
A section of the historic Missoula Mercantile that was supposed to be preserved as part of an agreement for new construction, is sagging and may collapse. Police were called out to help keep the public away from the area around 8:00 a.m. Monday Morning.
"Looking at the building from Higgins Avenue, it looks almost exactly the same, but around the back, looking from the east, it does appear that the roof and subsequent floors are sagging, to the point that you wouldn't want to stand near it at this point, while they figure out what they're going to do, because it does appear that it is in mid-collapse."
More than two hours after police were called to help keep people away from the area, there were still traffic restrictions.
"It is just the northbound lanes that are still closed, however, north and southbound traffic is still moving on the west side of the street, in the southbound lanes. The sidewalks have been opened that are not adjacent to the construction area. So, there is traffic moving, but it is understandably going to be a little bit slower due to traffic in both directions being restricted down to one lane."
The only section of the old Missoula Mercantile still standing is the pharmacy building, the rest was torn down to build a new hotel. If the pharmacy building is not preserved by the builders, it could end up costing them about 3 million dollars.