Pedestrian bridge over Geist Road requires emergency demolition

Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 8:59 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Aug. 15, at 10 p.m., the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) will begin the demolition of a pedestrian bridge that crosses over Geist Road.

After 48 years of standing strong, serving students and the community and protecting pedestrians, the walkway bridge that connects the north and south sides of Geist Road will be demolished.

The demolition is part of the DOT’s response to a routine inspection that took place earlier in the summer. During the inspection, the DOT discovered deficiencies in the bridge with various parts showing signs of failure after decades of service. The long term wear on the bridge has caused area’s in the northwest corner to fall apart causing a safety issue for both the pedestrians that use the bridge and the traffic that passes below it. Currently, the bridge is being held in place by temporary supports that are placed under the damaged area.

As part of the demolition a section of Geist Road will be closed between 10 p.m. on Aug. 15 spanning to 6 a.m. on Aug. 16. The closure will impact the section of the road between Jennie Lane and the McDonalds parking lot. Detours will be found on University Avenue, Airport Way, and the Mitchell Expressway.

Some members of the public expressed concern about the loss of the bridge when the DOT announced the demolition on Facebook.

“We understand how important this pedestrian crossing is for both the community on the south side of Geist Road and all the students that attend the schools on the north side of Geist Road and there will be some kind of kind of replacement pedestrian crossing put back here,” said John Perreault, a public information officer with the DOT.

“We just don’t have time to do it in this construction season because of the rapid kind of nature of the unfolding of these events.” The DOT has tentative plans to replace the bridge during the 2024 construction season.

The foot bridge was originally built in 1975.