Construction Report: More of Mitchell Expressway open; Parks-bound bridge remains closed

FAIRBANKS, Alaska As of Monday morning, the Mitchell Expressway is now open at both Airport Way intersections, but the Parks-bound Chena River Bridge will remain closed until late next month. The Chena River Bridge is the reason why the Mitchell Expressway didn't completely reopen last month, per the Department of Transportation's original plan.

As of Monday morning, the Mitchell Expressway is now open at both Airport Way intersections, but the Parks-bound Chena River Bridge will remain closed until late next month. (Image Courtesy of Alaska DOT)

According to DOT Spokesperson, Caitlin Frye, the bridge is structurally sound and the additional repairs they are making are designed to extend the life of the bridge. Those repairs are taking longing than expected.

DOT said on July 15th, they believed the bridge repairs would take around a month to finish, but according to Frye, that timetable has been extended. She says work on the bridge has been separated into three sections, with three separate crews are working on each part. Each crew has been working roughly 12 hours a day on the bridge. Frye says the new expected date for the bridge to be finished and the entire Mitchell to be reopened is September 23rd, 2019.

DOT is asking the public to start using Peger Road as a detour route to the Parks Highway. Frye says this request is due to the large amount traffic getting backed up on University Avenue.

"We're hoping that if we can get some of that traffic to Peger Road, that will alleviate some of the congestion on University Avenue," Frye said.

University traffic has already been under pressure due to a separate project on the road itself. University Avenue southbound lanes will continue to have closures throughout the university project but both north-bound lanes will remain open.

The Mitchell Expressway heading away from the Parks Highway remains unaffected.