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Basin Road Bridge to close again this year

Wooden trestle bridge is being reconstructed

Posted: September 26, 2012 - 5:07pm  |  Updated: September 27, 2012 - 12:07am

Work on Basin Road Trestle Bridge in downtown Juneau is not done, and completion of its reconstruction will prompt its closure for two more months this year, an Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokeswoman reported Wednesday.

The narrow wooden bridge provides access to both Perseverence Trail and the Last Chance Mining Museum. During its closure, the DOT&PF’s Brenda Hewitt wrote in an email, hikers wishing to reach Perseverence Trail will have to use the Gold Creek Flume Trail.

Basin Road Bridge will be closed from Oct. 2 to Dec. 1, according to Hewitt.

This two-month closure comes after a longer closure from last October until mid-April. Work was originally scheduled to wrap up April 15.

“We are finishing it up,” Hewitt explained. “They were working on it but took a break during tourist season and are back at it now.”

The closure of the bridge “impacts us quite a bit,” said Renee Hughes, who lives in an apartment above the Last Chance Mining Museum with her husband, Port Engineer Gary Gillette.

“You can look at the bridge and tell it’s only about three-quarters done,” Hughes remarked. She added, “When it’s done, it’ll be nice. Good, sturdy.”

In order to get between her home and the rest of town last winter, while the bridge was closed, Hughes said, she often had to cross over on a plank of wood or temporary walkway, assisted by a construction worker.

“When you’re carrying groceries and you have a 300-foot dropoff in the dark, it can be a little bit scary,” Hughes said.

Reconstruction of Basin Road Bridge, over which the DOT&PF has authority, is a federally funded project. Silver Bow Construction is the project contractor.

Despite the inconvenience to her posed by the bridge’s closure, Hughes offered warm words for both the DOT&PF and Silver Bow Construction.

“The Silver Bow guys, I can only just say, they were wonderful,” said Hughes. “The DOT guys were wonderful. They’ve kept us informed of everything that’s going on up here, (so) we’re prepared.”

While Basin Road Bridge is out of commission, Hewitt noted in her email, a temporary pedestrian bridge will be open from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night.

Avalanches affecting Flume Trail, the alternate route to Perseverence Trail, are not uncommon. City officials warned people not to attempt to use the trail to access Perseverence in early May this year due to a heightened risk of avalanches.

• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at mark.d.miller@juneauempire.com.

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