Federal grant awarded to fix aging Seward Highway bridges
Part of a new grant from the US Department of Transportation will see improvements to three bridges on the Seward Highway.
The Competitive Highway Bridge Program will be dispersing $225 million dollars in funding among 18 states. Of that, Alaska, will receive just over $11 million dollars. The three bridges that will see repairs are the Snow River Center Channel Bridge, the Snow River West Channel Bridge and the Victor Creek Bridge.
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities' proposal for the grant is dated November 19, 2018 and asked for just shy of $16 million dollars.
According to the document, both of the Snow River Bridges were under construction when the Good Friday Earthquake hit in 1964. The bridges were rebuilt a year later but have yet to see any major upgrades since then. DOT's proposal calls for the bridges to be rehabilitated.
The Victor Creek Bridge, which was built in 1952, also received damage during the 9.2 quake. An initial damage assessment after the earthquake stated the pier pedestals and the pier itself cracked. The bond between the slab and stringers was broken. The extent of the damage was hard to determine because part of the structure is underground. DOT says the bridge’s shoulders are too narrow and the rails are antiquated. The proposal calls for the bridge to be complete replaced.
Nicole Nason, the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, stressed that these bridges which will be repaired due to the program are still currently safe to drive on.
"None of the bridges that were identified by the states that needed to be repaired are unsafe. If the bridges are unsafe, the department of transportation will work with the state Department of Transpiration to close the bridges. We won't let the traveling public drive over bridges that are unsafe", said Nason.
The proposal calls for the project to span more than five years, with bridge closures expected in 2022 and 2027.