Crews work along the Sterling Highway over the Kenai River on Monday in Soldotna. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Crews work along the Sterling Highway over the Kenai River on Monday in Soldotna. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

State repairing Soldotna bridge damaged by quake

The damages were caused by the November 2018 earthquake.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is repairing a section of bridge on the Sterling Highway in Soldotna that was damaged by the November 2018 earthquake.

The magnitude 7.1 earthquake, which struck north of Anchorage on the morning of Nov. 30, 2018, caused significant infrastructure damage across the state’s central region.

According to DOT&PF, more than 265 sites were evaluated after the earthquake and it was determined that more than 150 of them needed permanent repairs. The goal behind the repairs is to restore affected infrastructure to their “pre-Earthquake serviceable life,” according to DOT&PF’s 2018 Earthquake Recovery website.

One subset of those repairs is bridges, which the DOT&PF began repairing in the fall of 2020.

Shannon McCarthy, Department of Transportation media liaison and admin operations manager, said via email that repairs are being made to bridges in and around Anchorage, Mat-Su and Kenai.

The earthquake caused shifting and cracking under the bridge in Soldotna, McCarthy said, however, the damage was minimal because the bridge was so far from the earthquake’s epicenter. For this reason, the contractor is only expected to be working on the bridge for a couple of days.

Permanent repair work is expected to continue through 2022, according to DOT&PF. McCarthy said that DOT has spent about $30 million on construction to date and is projecting about $70 million in future construction costs.

More information about that state’s planned infrastructure repairs in response to the 2018 earthquake can be found at ak2018earthquake.com.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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