Construction Report: Aurora Drive Bridge to remain closed for winter

Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 12:16 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Aurora Drive Bridge has seen closures for multiple seasons during the summer due to continued work on the bridge. Now a manufacturing delay will now require the bridge to remain closed until summer of 2024.

When construction season comes to an end, many of the impacted roadways that were closed during construction are reopened for use as normal or partially open for modified operation. Occasionally some unfinished projects remain closed when the season is over.

Just across the road from the fairgrounds, the Aurora Drive Bridge provides access to a residential area with schools and businesses. Built in the 1960s, the bridge has faced closures for the last two seasons as the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) has worked to fix multiple issues with the old infrastructure. This has meant the public has had to access their homes and businesses via detours. Now, schools will be impacted too.

Due to the many issues and the age of the bridge, the DOT has decided to replace the bridge rather than rehabilitate it, but a manufacturing delay has pushed back the end date for the project which was scheduled to be finished in fall of 2023.

Seven concrete girders are still needed to complete the bridge work and the manufacturer in Anchorage is behind on production and those girders won’t arrive until October. This has forced the DOT to change the projects scheduled completion to June of 2024, meaning the bridge will remain closed during the winter.

This could present serious disruptions to traffic as the current detour on Danby Road passes by two schools which means more traffic will travel with the busses that take kids to and from the schools each day.

In a post on Facebook, DOT acknowledged the inconvenience this will cause and said that they “want to do the job right the first time... apologize for the delay and thank [the public] for [their] patience.”

Tear down of the bridge began in March of 2023 and when the project is complete, the bridge will be wider with ADA compliant sidewalks.