After a long wait, University Bridge opens under budget

Stakeholders, politicians, local leaders and community members celebrated the opening of...
Stakeholders, politicians, local leaders and community members celebrated the opening of University Avenue Bridge.(Sarah Hollister)
Published: Oct. 23, 2021 at 4:55 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - After over a year and a half, the University Avenue Bridge is open to traffic.

Governor Mike Dunleavy says due to discussions and collaborations with contractors, this bridge finished a couple of million dollars under budget.

“People in Fairbanks seem to have a way of pulling things off in a very positive manner – on time,” Dunleavy said. “You have some great roads here.”

For Mayor Jim Matherly, this bridge has a family connection. His grandfather, Clyde Geraghty, was part of the original team that built the bridge in 1963.

“Fast forward to today, My uncle, Steve Geraghty, was part of this project as well. So I’m honored to represent my grandfather and my uncle; but then most importantly, I’m am glad to represent Fairbanks because today we open up University Avenue,” Matherly explained. “The bridge is beautiful. I took a drive over it a few minutes ago. It’s beautiful. It will last a very long time.”

While there were big project stakeholders, politicians and local leaders in attendance, the people of Fairbanks are who the Department of Transportation would like to show appreciation for.

Caitlin Frye, The Northern Region Information Officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation said, “The Fairbanks community are the people we really want to thank in this whole thing because they are the ones who have been most affected by this project. They’re the people that have been driving around this closed road.”

“There are about 17,000 cars that travel through this corridor every day,” Caitlin added. “This bridge was in dire need of replacement.”

So, in the words of the Governor, the next time you find out yourself on the West side of town, you don’t have to say “Darn!” anymore. Dunealvy said, “Every time I try to come down the road and try to hang a right, you know the road was being worked on, but we knew it was for a good reason, and I kept saying to myself ‘darn’ because I’d have to get on the access road - but that ends today because of the hard work of the people of Alaska.”

In all, more than 20 construction subcontractors were working on the project. While this phase is complete, the Department of Transportation said construction of the entire corridor will last until 2023.

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