Island Enterprises, Inc., will begin Phase 1 work on Tuesday, June 15, for the replacement of the Indian River Pedestrian Bridge at Sitka National Historical Park. Phase 1 of this project will continue through July 15.
This is the first phase of a two-phase project. During this initial phase, Island Enterprises will install water and salmon exclusion structures in the river to prevent spawning salmon from being affected by the project during Phase 2, when the existing bridge will be removed and a replacement constructed. Phase 2, the actual removal of the bridge, will not take place until after Sept. 5.
This is a project jointly administered by the Federal Highway Administration and the National Park Service to improve all types of transportation, including pedestrian modes. The bridge to be replaced was originally built in 1966 and has reached the end of its duty life. Inspections in 2008 and 2012 revealed the preliminary signs of structural weakness. Rather than let it continue to deteriorate, the NPS and FHWA scoped for and received funding to replace the bridge in the Park Service Centennial Year (2016). There also was a public comment period in 2014, where several bridge design options were presented for public review.
The replacement bridge will be visually-similar to the current bridge, but will be two feet wider on the walking surface (growing from five feet wide to seven feet wide) and will be constructed to be more flood-resistant than the current bridge. It also will have a different decking system.
The public should expect intermittent closures of the pedestrian bridge and surrounding access trails between June 15 to July 15, and again after Sept. 5. For the most up-to-date information on the status of the project and bridge closures, please call the visitor center at 747-0110.