Construction Report: Wendell Street Bridge work continues amid supply delays

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 4:56 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Since 2020, the Alaska Department of Transportation has been in the process of replacing the Wendell Street Bridge across the Chena River.

Now, two years later, the project appears to be on the verge of wrapping up.

However, there are loose ends to be completed this summer.

According to Danielle Tessen, Public Information Officer with the Alaska Department of Transportation, “We’re really working on pedestrian access, so we’re paving better pedestrian paths.”

Work is also being done to improve access to the boat launch at Graehl Park. “We have made parking a lot larger,” Tessen added, “so if you have a vehicle with a trailer, there’s a more adequate area for you to park. We have also made it accessible for all with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements.”

In addition to replacing the bridge, the project hopes to spruce up the area. “Taking the little extra step with landscaping, the work we did on the bridge for aesthetics, it really just beautifies downtown for us,” Tessen explained.

Work on and around the Wendell Street Bridge is expected to be completed in July. However, some needed materials have been delayed, according to Tessen. “We do have some fencing that we’re waiting to have arrive, and then we’ll install that as well.”

Similar supply delays have prolonged construction, which was expected to finish last summer. However, these issues haven’t affected the project’s budget. “This project was anticipated to be between 18 and 20 million,” Tessen said, “and we currently have spent about 17, but we still have another million to go, so we’re right on budget.”

With the Steese Expressway currently closed, the Wendell Street Bridge provides the closest pedestrian access across the Chena River.

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