State to begin work on new Haines bridge

The state of Alaska is preparing to build a replacement bridge over the Klehini River north of Haines, between Klukwan and the Canadian border.

The bridge does not support the Haines Highway; it allows a side road to cross the river.

The new bridge is estimated to cost between $5 million and $10 million and will replace a rusting truss bridge built in the 1960s over the river. Inspections of the existing bridge, sometimes called Porcupine Crossing, have found it is “structurally deficient,” and a project to replace it has been in the works since at least 2011, DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said. He added that the bridge is still safe to use, but the department wants to replace the bridge before it becomes unsafe.

The bridge will be 91 percent funded by the federal government, with the remaining 10 percent funded by a two-year-old state appropriation.

Construction is expected to start this fall and be complete by late summer 2017.

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