Eklutna Bridge faces closure

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 20:00
Road board to discuss repairs, Tablelands drainage

The Eklutna Bridge is in immediate need of repair, according to an inspection conducted by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities in August.

The bridge, located just past the Thunderbird Falls parking lot, will be a topic of discussion during the Chugiak/Birchwood/Eagle River Rural Road Service Area Board’s meeting Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Eagle River Town Center at 7 p.m.

The inspection report concluded the bridge needs to be repaired or replaced, said Mark Littlefield, Eagle River Street Maintenance general foreman. Littlefield said it’s most likely cheaper to replace it.

“I’m not a bridge inspector, but reading through the inspection, it’s an unsafe bridge,” he said. “In the worst case scenario, we would have to close it.”

For now, the bridge is open but does have weight restrictions, Littlefield said.

Littlefield said the Road Board has been asking for state funds to repair the bridge for several years. So far, the state hasn’t chipped in a dime.

But Assembly chair Debbie Ossiander wants to change that.

Ossiander said she wants to add funding for the project to Mayor Dan Sullivan’s budget requests for fiscal year 2013.

Ossiander said the Road Board’s request for state funding is taken seriously due to its increased responsibilities.

“I give a lot of authority usually to the Road Board,” she said. “They are being called on to do way more than they used to be called to do.”

One of Ossiander’s top priorities is securing the money necessary to fix The Tablelands’ drainage problem. That, too, is on the Road Board’s agenda.

Though still seeking state funding, Littlefield said the project is slated to start next year.

Sullivan has requested $3 million for The Tablelands — $2 million shy of what Ossiander said the Road Board told her it would cost to fix the problem that has plagued the high-end Peters Creek neighborhood since construction began in 2004.

The flooding problems are a result of Anchorage’s lax drainage requirements for the subdivision, Ossiander said.

The plan is to install French drains on both sides of the road and dig deeper ditches, Littlefield said. French drains direct water into pipes, which carries it away from the subdivision, he said.

Littlefield said the new drainage system should dry up the entire area.


Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or [email protected]

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