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Work being done to prepare new Tanana River bridge site, massive amounts of rock needed

Posted: August 8, 2011 - 8:09pm

FAIRBANKS — Plans to build a new bridge across the Tanana River are moving forward with the Alaska Railroad Corp. securing a lead contractor for the project.

The railroad has signed a $156.4 million deal with Nebraska-based Kiewit Corp. to be the lead contractor for the project, expected to cost about $190 million and the railroad.

The company expects to break ground on the project Sept. 28.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Monday that work crews are preparing the riverbanks near Salcha for construction.

The railroad says 450,000 tons of stone will be needed to support the bridge. The stone is coming from Brown’s Hill quarry near North Pole.

The lead contractor is working with a Chinese seller to acquire steel needed for the bridge.

Railroad spokesman Tim Sullivan said crews will use the rock to build rip rap along the river’s edge. He said workers could start clearing ground near Salcha by the end of the week.

The Tanana River bridge is part of a proposed $800 million eastward rail expansion to Delta Junction. That expansion is viewed as a first step if Alaska wants to reach Canada by rail.

The 3,300-foot bridge, which will accommodate both vehicles and trains, will be the longest in the state and will connect the Interior’s highway system to military training grounds to the south.

The state is providing $44 million to the project. The railroad previously secured $144 million, more than two-thirds of it from the Department of Defense and the Federal Railroad Administration.

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