Bridge to open for Sons of Norway events
Repair work on the Rasmus Enge Memorial Bridge is running ahead of schedule.
The anticipated $80,000 repair job began April 1 and was expected to take eight weeks to complete.
Assistant Director of Public Works Chris Cotta said an Alaska Department of Transportation (ADOT) bridge inspection report determined that around 75 stringers needed replacement.
“We won’t know the exact number until we get done with it,” Cotta said. “We’re going by ADOT inspections and our own observations. I’m guessing we’ll find a few more as we uncover them and take a closer look.”
A stringer is a like a floor joist, supporting the bridge deck and many of them are rotted.
The bridge repair funding is coming from the borough’s capital project fund. Designs are also in the works to eventually replace the entire bridge.
“Basically we’re dealing with a really old bridge that has a lot of age on it,” Cotta said. “Even the piles and pile caps that we are not replacing have quite a bit of time on them. We’ll replace the stuff that’s rotten or structurally failed.”
Designs are still pending but the overall bridge replacement is estimated to cost a little more than $1 million.
Director of Public Works Karl Hagerman said the street crew is working their way down the bridge in spans of 20 to 30 feet and have been able to open the bridge to traffic on weekends.
“We’re starting the fourth week and we’re definitely over half way there and are going to hit that eight week time frame with no problem,” Hagerman said.
Hagerman said the department wants to ensure the bridge opens for several events coming up in May at the Sons of Norway Hall such as the Petersburg High School Prom, weddings and the blessing of the fleet.