The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF), in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has completed the environmental and design deliverables for this project and is now constructing a new single-span bridge across Anchor River on Old Sterling Hwy at MP 8.4 in the town of Anchor Point within the Kenai Peninsula Borough. The new bridge was designed without piers in the river to avoid negatively impacting fish and wildlife habitats; to not affect natural water currents; and to not impede recreational watercraft use.
The existing through-truss bridge was installed in 1942 and has been retrofitted several times to extend its usable life-span. Consequently, load restrictions have been implemented on the bridge, inconveniencing local residents and creating inefficient detours for routine maintenance operations and other heavy vehicles like school busses. Old Sterling Hwy currently experiences seasonal flooding across the roadway south of the bridge. The existing bridge’s cross-framing also prohibits most freight vehicles and other taller loads from passing over the bridge, prohibiting the use of Old Sterling Hwy as an emergency detour should the Sterling Hwy ever become blocked.
This project will raise the roadway to increase vehicle sight distance and prevent water from overtopping the highway during the design flood event. The new roadway alignment is also straighter than existing, allowing users to see each other better while on and approaching the roadway. The new bridge will have 11’ lanes and 6’ shoulders in both directions, which will be an improvement over the existing one-lane bridge and two-lane roadway without shoulders. The new bridge will not have height restrictions or load restrictions, unlike the current bridge which experiences both. Signage, striping, ditching, guardrail, riprap, a new trail connection under the proposed bridge, and recreational kiosks at the Silverking Campground are also being proposed.