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Weather forces Basin Road bridge work delay

Trestle bridge may open later in the week

Posted: December 2, 2012 - 10:23am  |  Updated: December 2, 2012 - 10:30am

Basin Road Trestle Bridge, originally set to reopen Saturday after two months of work to round out its reconstruction, will stay closed for at least a few more days, an Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokesman said Friday.

Due to snow and wind slowing down construction, the bridge now appears likely to stay closed until Wednesday at the soonest, according to Jeremy Woodrow.

“They’re running a little late, and it’s weather-dependent right now,” Woodrow remarked.

Woodrow, who lives near the Gold Creek Flume Trail close by the bridge, said the wintry, blustery weather in Juneau has been pronounced in the area.

“I can definitely attest to the fact that the wind does rip through the basin there,” said Woodrow.

The Taku winds, powerful northeasterlies that periodically sweep through Juneau during the fall and winter months, are especially strong in the downtown area, where Basin Road is located, as well as in Douglas.

Last week was the third straight week during which a high wind warning was issued for Juneau by the National Weather Service, according to data provided by NWS meteorologist Richard Lam.

The bridge was closed for a much longer period of time last winter, when it was shut down from October until mid-April.

“They started that work last winter and then they didn’t finish it last winter, so they kind of buttoned things up, made it usable for the summer,” said Woodrow.

The phase of work that started Oct. 2 is intended to polish off the project, “finishing the work that needs to be done,” as Woodrow put it.

Woodrow said a vehicle guardrail must be put in and decking completed before the bridge can reopen.

Gary Gillette, Juneau’s port engineer, lives at the Last Chance Mining Museum with his wife, Renee Hughes.

The couple keeps their vehicle across the bridge, Gillette said, whle they have been provided with another vehicle to transport them between the museum and the bridge. A pedestrian bridge has been open from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. every night while the bridge is closed.

“We’re looking forward to getting it done, but we’ve been able to make it work,” said Gillette of the reconstruction.

Basin Road Trestle Bridge provides access to the head of the Perseverence Trail throughout the year, and access to the Last Chance Mining Museum during the summer.

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

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