Crews begin demolition of Wendell Ave. Bridge
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A second bridge across the Chena River in Fairbanks is being torn down. Demolition to the Wendell Ave. Bridge began this week as crews began removing the railing and sidewalks from the structure.
The bridge to downtown Fairbanks has been in use since it was built in 1953 and was the oldest bridge in the Interior. The Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) began work to replace the bridge in the summer of 2020.
DOT Northern Region Information Officer, Caitlin Frye says that they will remove the railings on the bridge first and then begin work to remove the deck. Frye says that because the bridge is so old they are unsure of what they will find under its deck and that could cause the project to go longer. After the deck is removed, the crews will remove the girders, followed by the pilings. The entire process may take around two months depending on what is found under the bridge, as well as weather conditions.
The Wendell bridge is the second to be removed in recent months. In December and January construction crews working on University Ave. removed its bridge over the Chena.
As with the University Ave. Bridge removal, Frye said, “There are specific plans in place to make sure debris stays out of the river.”
Frye added that it is very important that pedestrians, cyclists and drivers do not try to cross the barriers to the bridge as it is being removed. She also said that people should not go under the bridge. “We really need everyone to stay away from the vicinity of this bridge, especially during demolition. There is heavy equipment on the bridge and it is just not a safe place to be right now.”
Construction on the new Wendell bridge will begin in the spring. Both the Wendell Ave. and the University Ave. bridges are expected to be completed by the fall and reopen to traffic.
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