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Frequently Asked Questions about the Proposed
Edgerton Highway/Lakina River Bridge Project

Q: Why are you replacing the Lakina River Bridge?
A: The existing bridge is narrow (13') and has a short vertical overhead clearance (13') which is not optimal for the travelling public's needs. The bridge's low vertical clearance makes it vulnerable to vehicular damage. Load restrictions in place as a consequence of vehicle damage have been imposed, impeding commerce.

Replacing the bridge with a longer bridge will expand the channel width of the Lakina River at the crossing of the Edgerton/McCarthy Road. The resulting increase in hydraulic capacity at the crossing will make the bridge and road less susceptible to flood damage, reducing maintenance costs.

Q: Will you have to acquire private property to build the bridge?
A: A section of private property downstream of the bridge was acquired as will lands held by the Alaska Department of Natural Resources.

Q: When will this bridge be constructed?
A: Funding has been dedicated to this project and we anticipate construction will begin in 2015.

Q: How much will the bridge cost?
A: The current estimate is between $5and $10 million dollars, including contract administration costs.

Q: Will there be changes to the traffic patterns during construction?
A: Due to the anticipated size of the new bridge, the duration of construction is expected to last approximately 6 months. Travelers in the area should expect some disruption during construction. We are currently seeking input from the McCarthy community about the optimal way to balance the needs of the traveling public with construction costs and the short Alaskan summer construction window.

  • Short-term road closures will not exceed one hour. Given the low volume of traffic, it is likely the contractor will have many “traffic-free” work windows. Wait times of up to an hour will be rare.
  • A maximum of four 12-hour closures will be permitted with ample advanced public notice (seven days minimum).  We realize this is an inconvenience to the travelling public but these closures are necessary for safety reasons during bridge girder placement.
  • No full road closures will be permitted during the week of July 4th holiday and lane restriction (short term road closures) will not exceed 30 minutes.

The contractor will be required to participate in a public meeting in McCarthy prior to the project to discuss its schedule and operations. The contractor will also be required to provide updates on at least a biweekly basis so area travelers are aware when they may encounter a closure or delay and can plan accordingly.

Q: What will the new bridge look like?
A: The bridge will be a concrete bulb-tee girder type structure (see photo) due to its durability, Alaska fabrication (Anchorage) and cost savings. The new bridge is proposed to provide 24' of traveled way width for vehicles, allowing for two-way traffic across the bridge. The new bridge will also be longer than the existing bridge with an overall length of approximately 340 feet.

Gakona River Bridge
Example of concrete bulb-tee girder bridge
Gakona River Bridge, Tok Cutoff