Frequently Asked Questions
The project is necessary for the bridges at Montana Creek and Sheep Creek because these bridges have structural deficiencies and do not meet current standards. If no improvements were made to the highway’s bridge crossings of these creeks, weight restrictions for the bridges may need to be established in the future. Such restrictions would be problematic for commercial transporters hauling heavy loads, and could suppress retail, commercial, and industrial development within the state. The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) has determined that full replacement of the bridges is needed to maintain safety and continued use of the Parks Highway.
For the Goose Creek crossing, the project will be replacing a series of culverts that have exceeded their useful life and need replacement. The culverts will be replaced with a bridge structure that meets current structural and high water flow requirements.
A bridge is considered structurally deficient if ratings for the deck (driving surface), superstructure, or substructure are poor. Examples of poor condition include corrosion that has compromised steel support members, movement of substructures, or advanced cracking and deterioration of concrete elements. One or more of these factors are present on the Sheep and Montana creek bridges. (Source: 2013 Alaska Bridge Report)
The project began in early 2015. The design team is reconsidering the bridge replacement concepts. Construction will depend on the availability of funding, currently not anticipated until after 2019. Construction is anticipated to take approximately 2 years to complete.
The team will know more accurately as the design advances. The current estimate in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program is $32.1 Million.
The DOT&PF intends to maintain access to campgrounds, fishing and trails during construction to the extent possible.
Two Alaskans who lost their lives near the bridges are currently memorialized. A plaque on the Sheep Creek Bridge honoring Sean McAlpine and the name of the pedestrian pathway, Shelby’s Way, at Montana Creek will be retained after construction is complete.
New bridges will be on current roadway alignment and the road profile will be raised 3 to 5 feet.
Temporary bridges may be installed to maintain traffic flow around the construction site if necessary. Travelers should expect intermittent lane closures and pilot cars. While we do not anticipate any full road closures, traffic impacts will be better defined as the design develops.
The DOT&PF has sufficient right-of-way in the area near the bridges to complete the project without purchasing and buying additional land from adjacent property owners. Property may be affected only if grading is required to reconnect its driveway to the highway or to construction detour routes.
It is customary for construction detour routes to accommodate pedestrian and bicycle pathways as well as motor vehicles.