Captain William Moore Bridge nears end of life, to be replaced

The Captain William Moore Bridge, a landmark on the South Klondike Highway near Skagway, Alaska, is set to be replaced by a solid concrete structure. The existing bridge may be converted into a walkway and pedestrian viewpoint.

34 metre bridge to be replaced with solid concrete structure, old bridge may be turned into viewpoint

The 110-foot Captain William Henry Moore Bridge is set to be replaced. Its foundations are weakening due to years of heavy load traffic. (Submitted by Murray Lundberg)

As a South Klondike Highway landmark nears the end of its life, ambitious plans are in the works for its replacement.

The Captain William Henry Moore Bridge spans a gorge 17 kilometres outside of Skagway, Alaska. Built in 1976, the 34 metre bridge crosses Moore Creek Gorge on the Klondike Highway, which connects Skagway to Yukon's highway network.

Since its construction, the bridge has seen a lot of traffic, including tractor-trailers full of ore.

"The heavier trucks are pretty hard on it, and it flexes quite a lot," says Naomi Hobbs, who is with Anchorage engineering consulting firm DOWL. "The foundation ties are reported to be pulling from their foundations."

DOWL has developed plans to replace the existing bridge with a new structure made of solid concrete. 

"There will be a culvert at the bottom to allow the water to flow through," says Hobbs, "but on top of that, basically that's what it is [solid concrete]. We're putting in a culvert and filling on top of that. 

"It will basically be not a standard bridge, but it will be concrete-filled. So basically, we're filling in the gorge."

The project, which is expected to cost nearly $14 million U.S., is expected to begin next year and take two years to finish.

According to Hobbs, the old bridge may be converted into a pedestrian walking bridge and viewpoint once it is replaced.


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