Eklutna River Bridge Now Open

June 15, 2016
Eklutna River Bridge

The new bridge over the Eklutna River.

On June 14, locals, officials and project representatives gathered for the grand opening of the new bridge over the Eklutna River, held just past the Chugach State Park Thunderbird Falls trailhead.

The Eklutna River Bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic since 2012 due to deterioration and unsafe conditions. This new bridge replaces the 81-year-old structure and was a joint partnership project between the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) and the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Bridge Section. The new bridge aims to reestablish mobility and connectivity to residents and area users; provide non-motorized opportunities; create recreational access to Chugach State Park; improve emergency response by providing a viable alternate access from the Glenn Highway across Eklutna River; support future land use and development; and reduce long-term maintenance and operation costs.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and Chugiak Senator Bill Stoltze were onsite to lead the opening ceremony.

Eklutna River Bridge

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and Chugiak Senator Bill Stoltze cutting the ribbon.

“There are many great attributes this bridge will provide,” said Stoltze. “My neighbors in Thunderbird Heights will have to drive a couple thousand miles less per year backtracking and it’s a great ancillary emergency road, on those rare occasions when the Glenn Highway closes down.”

Berkowitz followed with a thank you to all the project contributors.

“I want to thank the folks from DOT&PF, the people who worked on this from the Municipality, the contractor and Eklutna for making this project happen and making it happen in relatively short order,” said Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. “It’s pretty indicative of what we can do when we are all pulling the same direction and focused on achieving something.”

R&M has been working on this project with John Smith and Rand Gaynor, the MOA Project Management & Engineering Division Project Manager and Project Administrator, since 2013. The firm provided planning, public involvement, design, permitting and historic documentation. R&M team members include:

Eklutna River Bridge

The R&M project team with Mayor Ethan Berkowitz at the grand opening.

Lance DeBernardi, PE, Ryan Goentzel, PE, Jason Obsurn, PE, Marc Frutiger, PE, Morgan Welch, PE, Tom Garrett, PE, Kristi McLean, LEED AP BD+C, Van Le, AICP, Taryn Oleson, Hans Arnett, Irene Turletes, EIT, Rori Van Nortwick, EIT, Charlie Riddle, CPG, Buzz Scher, PE, Brian Mullen, PE, Abe Schmidt, Aaron Banks, CPG, Kevin Robar, LSIT, Chad Weiler, PLS, Bill Preston, PLS, GISP, Gene LeQuire, PLS, Ben Holmstrom, LSIT, Luke Boggess, GISP, Justin Rich, Patrick Helwett, Ryan McCormick, Emery Schramm, Brooks Dilley, Mike Wariner, Lenny Peirce, Mike Yunker, Jason Willoughby, Clark Rosencrans, Maury Blanton, Nick Black, Katie Chan, Jessica Koloski, Orlan Paraoan.

Thank you to the Anchorage Park Foundation for donating the ceremonial scissors for the ribbon cutting and to ENSTAR Natural Gas for the use of their grill.

Project Team

  • Designer: R&M Consultants, Inc.
  • Landscape Architect: Bettisworth North Architects and Planners, Inc.
  • Traffic Analysis: Kinney Engineering, LLC.
  • Historic Documentation: Northern Land Use Research Alaska
  • Hazardous Materials Testing and Disposal Planning: Nortech, Inc.
  • Contractor: Sandstrom & Sons, Inc.