FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) is exploring options regarding the Copper River Highway between Cordova and the Million Dollar Bridge about 50 miles away..
The Copper River washed away a piece of land connecting two bridges on the highway. Those wishing to cross the bridges must now do so by ferry. (DOT)
The highway, which used to connect Cordova to the road system, is still in moderate use for touristic, scientific, and fishery purposes.
However, nature has been reclaiming the highway in several places. The Copper River has moved since the highway was built in the early 20th century, and is now eroding at a significant section of the highway. The river also washed away a piece of land connecting two bridges on the highway. The bridges are now accessible only by ferry.
Ryan Anderson, DOT’s Northern Region Director, met with the people of Cordova on Tuesday. According to Anderson, Cordova residents are not averse to repairing the highway; however, they would like the options to be both the most cost-effective and the most long-term.
According to Anderson, the DOT is considering different sources of funding. Grants from the federal government are currently the most practical option. However, fully repairing the highway is a project Anderson estimates will cost somewhere in the realm of $50 million.
In the short term, repairs will be done such that access across the highway’s span will be possible using only particular kinds of vehicles suitable for rough terrain.
More information and DOT contact about the Copper River Highway here.
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