Need a bridge?
It’s not the usual thing to see in the classifieds, but the state of Alaska wants to unload the 47-year-old Brotherhood Bridge, which spans Juneau’s Mendenhall River.
Federal law requires the state Department of Transportation preserve historic bridges if possible, says Jane Gendron, Environmental Manager for the Southeast Region.
“If you can’t re-engineer or keep that bridge in place, you reach out and find other interested parties who would be able to remove the bridge and reassemble to preserve its historic nature in another location,” Gendron says. “That is a requirement as part of our federal funding for a bridge replacement project.”
Brotherhood Bridge was designed by Alaska Native leader Roy Peratrovich, Jr. for the 50th anniversary of the Alaska Native Brotherhood. The bridge was dedicated on Alaska Day in 1965.
The new bridge will be built next year to accommodate four lanes of traffic, a multi-use path on one side and sidewalk on the other.
Beyond that, there are few details, says DOT Chief Bridge Engineer Rich Pratt. He says bridge designers are waiting for highway engineers to finalize roadway specifications.
“Start with the road. You know, how wide do the road guys want the road? And what does the alignment look like? And then we’ll make the bridge match the road,” Pratt says. “It’s very rare for the bridge to control anything.”
The 319 foot-long, 30-foot-wide reinforced concrete and steel Brotherhood Bridge is unremarkable, except for special bronze medallions representing the crest of the Alaska Native Brotherhood. Pratt says they will be removed and preserved.
Like most old bridges, Brotherhood Bridge has been painted with lead-based paint. DOT is responsible for removing all the paint before it’s sold, if it ever is.
“It is not uncommon that no one wants these old bridges and then what happens is we document what’s out there, all of that is filed away through the historic people (Office of History & Archaeology), and then it’s sent out to be recycled,” Pratt says.
Brotherhood Bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
If someone decides to preserve it, they will have to remove it.
DOT has set no price for the bridge.