The Alaska Department of Transportation has announced that a new $19 million bridge near Dillingham is now open to traffic.
The Aleknagik Wood River Bridge was formally opened during a ceremony last week. Political figures and DOT director Marc Luiken cut the ribbon to open the bridge, a 440-foot span that connects the two sides of the village of Aleknagik.
The opening was announced by email from the DOT.
The village, which has a population of about 200, is up Wood River from Dillingham. The south side of the village is connected to Dillingham by a road, but the north side, which contains the village’s runway and post office, was divided from the south by a lake and Wood River.
Boats or (in winter) an ice road connected the village’s two halves, but the crossing was at times treacherous. More than a dozen people had died since 1970 on the route.
An earmark from Sen. Ted Stevens started project planning in the early 2000s, and the Alaska Legislature in 2008 allocated $20 million for construction.