World War II-era bridge on Alaska Highway being replaced

Updated Nov 29, 2018

Tok River Bridge

The World War II-era, truss-style bridge that spans the Tok River on the Alaska Highway was replaced with a temporary detour bridge while a new bridge is being built, The Wichita Eagle reports. A detour bridge was required in order to build the bridge in the same location as the old bridge.

“The cost for inspection and maintenance would exceed the cost of a new bridge,” Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokeswoman Danielle Tessen said, according to the news agency, adding that the old bridge had exceeded its 50-year design life.

The old bridge, located at Mile 1309 between Tok, Alaska, and the Canadian border, was built between 1943 and 1944 and was the last truss-style bridge left between Canada and Anchorage. Crews began demolishing the bridge on Oct. 26, 2018.

The new bridge is estimated to cost $9.9 million and require foundation, piling, and abutment work, but will have a projected 75-year life span. It will be longer and wider than the old bridge and will eliminate height restrictions for oversize loads.