The Anchor River bridge connects downtown Anchor Point with the Old Sterling Highway and the Anchor River State Recreation Area, as seen in this May 2013 file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The Anchor River bridge connects downtown Anchor Point with the Old Sterling Highway and the Anchor River State Recreation Area, as seen in this May 2013 file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Anchor Point bridge repairs delayed until late August

After citizens complained about a pending closure of the Anchor Point bridge over the Anchor River, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities confirmed last Friday it will delay repairs of the bridge abutment until a time to be set.

“It’s going to need a better fix. They didn’t want to shut it down right now,” said Shannon McCarthy, a department spokesperson, in a phone interview on Friday. “It’s a peak traffic time.”

In a notice on July 23, Gordon Lange, highway maintenance foreman for Peninsula District Maintenance and Operations, wrote that the Old Sterling Highway would be closed between Anchor Point Road and the Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste Transfer Site.

That meant to access Anchor River campgrounds, people would have to drive to the north end of the Old Sterling Highway via the Sterling Highway and back south to the Anchor Point Road, about a 10-mile detour.

That won’t happen.

In an email forwarded to the Homer News, Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Willy Dunne, who represents Anchor Point and rural areas of Homer, on July 25 queried Rep. Paul Seaton, N-Homer, about the pending closure. Dunne said some constituents had called him about it.

Last Thursday, Seaton said that after talking with local road maintenance staff and DOT&PF Commissioner Marc Luiken’s office, the decision was made to delay repairs. Anchor Point has already felt an impact to tourism from low king-salmon runs, and the bridge closure would hurt the economy even more, Seaton said.

McCarthy confirmed last Friday that repairs would be delayed. On about July 10, a bridge crew inspected the abutments, or the approaches to the old steel bridge, and found wood timbers holding up the abutment had rotted.

“They were concerned with the condition,” McCarthy said in a phone interview on Friday morning. “… The soil of the abutment was starting to flow down and under the bridge.”

McCarthy said maintenance crews put more gravel in the abutment as a temporary fix. When repairs are done latert, the wood timbers will be replaced with concrete supports.

“It’s still considered a temporary repair,” she said. “Our ultimate goal is to replace the bridge.”

Department crews will monitor the bridge and abutment, McCarthy said.

Any bridge replacement would be largely paid for with federal funds. McCarthy said typically federal projects take about four years.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.

The Anchor River bridge connects downtown Anchor Point with the Old Sterling Highway and the Anchor River State Recreation Area, as seen in this May 2013 file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

The Anchor River bridge connects downtown Anchor Point with the Old Sterling Highway and the Anchor River State Recreation Area, as seen in this May 2013 file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

This photo taken on July 26, 2018, from underneath the Anchor River bridge abutment shows where wooden timbers have rotted on the bridge near Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Paul Seaton)

This photo taken on July 26, 2018, from underneath the Anchor River bridge abutment shows where wooden timbers have rotted on the bridge near Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Paul Seaton)

More in News

Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion 
                                The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna is seen here on June 1.
Application period for borough relief funds begins Monday

Borough residents can apply for these grants July 13 through July 24.

Homer Farmers Market: Farmers offer stability in times of uncertainty

In a time of uncertainty, it certainly is nice to know where… Continue reading

Hospital adds new COVID-19 rooms

An increase last month in positive COVID-19 cases on the lower Kenai… Continue reading

Peonies cover a table, ready to receive people at a field to vase dinner tour hosted by Certified American Grown Flowers on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at Scenic Place Peonies in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer Peony Celebration begins this week

With many large or indoor events canceled this year due to the… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy the CDC)
9 new COVID-19 cases on the Kenai Peninsula

The central Kenai Peninsula saw growth in the number of new COVID-19… Continue reading

The Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly overrides mayoral veto of hybrid election system ordinance

Members of the Kenai Peninsula Borough assembly voted to override a mayoral… Continue reading

Independence Day parade organized after official event gets canceled

The continued spread of COVID-19 across Alaska prompted many official organizations and… Continue reading

A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through a race during the pig races at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Kenai Peninsula Fair canceled this year

Cotton candy, carnival rides and racing pigs will have to wait for… Continue reading

Members of the Homer City Council interview candidate Rob Dumouchel for the job of city manager on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 via Zoom in Homer, Alaska. Top row from left to right: Council member Joey Evensen, Mayor Ken Castner, Council member Heath Smith. Middle row from left to right: Council members Donna Aderhold, Rachel Lord and Storm Hansen-Cavasos. Bottom row from left to right: Candidate Rob Dumouchel and Council member Caroline Venuti.
Council offers city manager job to California candidate

The Homer City Council voted last week to offer the job of… Continue reading

Most Read