Basin Road Trestle needs $2 million in repairs, possible load limits

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2007

Juneau's Basin Road Trestle, closed for maintenance for the last two days, has structural problems that will likely need $2 million more in repairs, said Michael Scott, Juneau's Streets Superintendent.

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"There's a little cause for some concern down the road," he said.

The trestle has been closed for maintenance Wednesday and Thursday, and Scott said he expected that work would be completed today.

"When we get done with it, it will be fixed for the winter," he said.

The remaining work will be done next summer, at the earliest, if the city can come up with the funds by then, Scott said.

The bridge now doesn't need load limits, but it may in the future, he said.

"A loaded 10-yard dump truck is perfectly fine," Scott said.

State bridge inspectors will lower the trestle's weight limit if that becomes necessary, he said.

The bridge deck is made of timber, and regularly wears out and needs replacement. An August inspection found numerous planks that had deteriorated, and this week, crews went to work replacing then.

The bridge's location on a steep hillside makes it difficult to inspect, so state bridge inspectors went along as well.

"Any time we have an opportunity when the wearing surface is removed, and we're aware of it, we'll get somebody out there to take a look at it," said Drew Sielbach, bridge management engineer with the Department of State and Public Facilities.

The bridge is an unusually difficult one to inspect.

"It's more challenging than a lot of them," Sielbach said.

Inspectors found some deterioration of the structural timbers underneath the bridge deck that will require more thorough repairs, Scott said.

The state had anticipated the trestle would need work and had unsuccessfully sought funding for it.

The bridge had been scheduled for its biannual inspection in August, not long after the Minneapolis collapse of a bridge rated as "structurally deficient."

Each element of the trestle was rated "six" on a scale of one to nine. A rating of "four" or below would have meant the bridge was structurally deficient.

Inspectors took the opportunity of this week's work to do further inspections.

The city has not developed estimates for the work that will be needed, but hopes the $2 million it sought before will be adequate.

"Costs have really escalated here lately," he said. Replacement of the structural timbers will require pressure treated wood, he said.

The state has a number of wooden deck bridges around Southeast, but even the North Slope Haul Road has some as well, Sielbach said.

• Contact Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or

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