Alaska Trends

Where would the people of Alaska be without bridges? Probably stuck or investing in a lot more boats. With its abundance of streams and rivers, bridges are they keystones of Alaska’s transportation infrastructure.

These feats of modern (and ancient) engineering have been getting Alaskans from A to B since the early 1900s—and in some style. If you happened to catch this month’s feature “About Bridges,” you know that bridges can be just as much art as they are science. Alaska is home to a variety of unique and stunning bridges, including one of the only diverging diamond interchanges in the nation. The Glenn Highway and Muldoon Road Interchange opened to traffic in 2017. The diverging diamond interchange (also referred to as a double crossover diamond) is an advanced design that improves traffic flow, capacity, and safety all at once. Cross over to this month’s installment of Alaska Trends for more bridge bits.

As of the 2015 published inspection data …
2015 published inspection data pie chart
45.7 %
of bridges received a good condition rating
44.8 %
of bridges are in fair condition
9.5 %
of bridges are in poor condition
Highway bridges illustration
highway bridges were open to the public in 2015
highway bridges are open to the public, roughly half of those bridges are part of a conventional road system

Alaska’s “other” bridges have short lifespans, limited public use or are seasonal, such as those in Denali National

35 years
average bridge age in Alaska
Cake illustration
44 years
average bridge age nationally
Construction illustration
Accelerated Bridge Construction—DOT&PF’s answer to long winters and shorter construction seasons
Bridge with cars illustration
of federal bridges have an average daily traffic of 10 or fewer vehicles
Car illustration
455 of 481
federal bridges are only one lane wide
DOT&PF has evaluated new bridge components such as seismic isolation bearings, polyester concrete, and types of waterproofing membranes
$2 Million
invested annually by Alaska DOT&PF in bridge research
Money bridge ilustration
total bridges in Alaska
There are 3 DOT&PF maintenance regions in the state, Northern, Central, and Southcoast. 2 have bridge maintenance crews
bridges are maintained by the DOT&PF
bridges are maintained by the Northern Region
663,000 square miles of infrastructure coverage in Alaska text bubble
Alaska map illustration
SOURCE: The Fix We’re In: The State of Alaska’s Bridges
SOURCE: Infrastructure for all Alaskans
SOURCE: State of Alaska, DOT&PF