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Construction Report: Replacing the Wendell Street Bridge

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 4:43 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Since last summer, the Wendell Street Bridge has been closed to the public while it is being replaced.

On Friday, July 2, girders were added to the replacement bridge, which spans the Chena River.

Danielle Tessen, Publications Specialist with the Alaska Department of Transportation, explained, “The Wendell Street Bridge was an older bridge. The pedestrian access was almost nonexistent, and honestly it was one of our older bridges that needed lots of new improvements. So building a new bridge will allow better pedestrian access as well as just safer travel over the Chena River.”

The old bridge was demolished last winter.

Tessen said the project also involves improvements to the boat launch nearby. “We’re going to be laying pavement, having ADA access and more parking. We’re also going to tie in some sidewalk paths that will go from the boat launch area, where it’s located now, all the way underneath the new Wendell Street Bridge.”

While construction continues, pedestrians can cross the Chena River via the Steese Highway and the William Ransom Wood Centennial Bridge, a walking bridge near Cushman Street.

“This summer we have a lot of construction projects that are creating a lot of big impacts to people, and what we want to remind people is that the summer is hard. There’s a lot of detours, but the projects are all creating road systems that are going to move traffic more efficiently, and also create safer pedestrian access, and honestly, better bridges,” Tessen said.

The whole project is estimated to cost between $18 and 20 million. According to Tessen, “It’s projected to continue through this construction season and open this fall.”

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