Rating:
2 votes

Million Dollar Bridge

Photos 

Overview

Photo taken July 1984 by Jet Lowe for the Historic American Engineering Record

BH Photo #100001

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Four-span through truss bridge over Copper River on Copper River Highway
Location
Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska
Status
Open to one-lane traffic
History
Built 1910 on the CR&NW Railroad; closed 1938; reopened as a highway bridge in 1958; fourth span collapsed in earthquake on March 27, 1964, collapsed span repaired 2005
Builders
- E.C. Hawkins (Chief Engineer)
- Michael James Heney of Cordova, Alaska (Contractor)
- Mowat Construction Co. of Woodinville, Washington (Repair Contractor)
Railroads
- Copper River & Northwestern Railway (CR&NW)
- Rail-to-road
Design
Pennsylvania through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 450.2 ft.
Total length: 1,576.2 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 24.0 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 31, 2000
Also called
Miles Glacier Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+60.67292, -144.74631   (decimal degrees)
60°40'23" N, 144°44'47" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
6/623127/6728467 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 00000293 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
AK 206 (Alaska bridge number)
BH 10060 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 08/2010)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 47.4 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
93

Update Log 

  • February 6, 2017: New photo from Dana and Kay Klein
  • January 20, 2017: New photo from Dave King
  • October 13, 2016: New photo from Dave King
  • August 23, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • September 8, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
  • December 20, 2014: Updated by Chris Knight: Added "Miles Glacier Bridge" to alt names as the Wikipedia Article has this as the Bridge Name. It sohuld help on Google Rankings to here.
  • April 27, 2008: Updated by Max Johnson
  • September 19, 2006: Posted HAER photos

Sources 

Comments 

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted February 6, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Been to Alaska "Bridge" and "Road" can truly be relative terms!

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted February 6, 2017, by Brandon Cooper

Amazing how long that temporary roadway stayed in place. I wonder if Alaska didn't care to replace this bridge, and how many Presidents that thing survived through (LBJ,Nixon,Ford,Carter,Reagan,Bush 41, Clinton,and Bush 43.) That is an amazing feat to last 8 Presidents.

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted January 27, 2011, by Jim (lueken [at] bellsouth [dot] net)

Go to following link for the contractors very interesting report on Phase 1 repairs. Include lifting Span #4, replacing one pier and strengthening existing piers. Phase 2, not yet put out to bid involves seismic devices for all old spans...but may not ever happen.

http://mceer.buffalo.edu/research/HighwayPrj/Workshops/Truss...

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted November 22, 2010, by Danny

The realinement of the bridge is suppose to be the next phase of the project. If you could look down station you would be able see that pier 2 and pier 3 was shifted,(tilted,) at the same time that pier 4 failed. In order to realine the superstructure, there will have to be some rework of those piers,(substructure,) The orignal concrete piers do not have any rebar in them and the cold joints could shift with a good earthquake like pier did.

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted May 4, 2010, by Anonymous

Somebody said something about the bridge being misaligned after being re-set. I wonder if the Earth Quake caused it to be off-set and so it wasn't possible to re-set it straight. Maybe all of the piers on one side are offset.

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted February 16, 2010, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

It was built as a part of the railroad to service the Kennecot copper mine. After the mine closed it became a road to access the Copper River Valley. Not a lot of development there but without the bridge and road it would be even less.

Actually there are large coal deposits in the area and the railroad was built with their development in mind as much as the copper mine but Theodore Roosevelt got into a fight with Morgan and the Guggenhimes who bought leases on the coal mining rights and the whole deal was killed. Depending on how you look on it it was a win for conservation or a loss for Alaska's right to develop the resources of their own state. It's a battle that continues today..

The plan was to build copper smelting plants to use the ore and coal and export copper. As it ended up only high grade copper ore concentrate was mined and shipped to Oregon for smelting. When the very high grade ore was done in the 1930's it closed. There is a lot of good ore remaining but it would have to be smelted in place and that is not going to happen under current conditions.

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted January 24, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Did anyone notice that when they lifted the span back up they had a little trouble with alignment? http://www.flickr.com/photos/giantginkgo/247997934/

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted July 19, 2009, by Anonymous

Where does this bridge go to?

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted June 25, 2009, by Don

fourth span collapsed in earthquake on March 27, 1964, collapsed span repaired 2005.

So that means they were driving on that makeshift roadway for 41 years!

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted March 23, 2008, by Alaska Dude

Yes, there is a photo.

I did not take it, but because it is copyrighted, I can't download it to put it on here.

But here is the link to a picture of it with the span repaired.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/11581087@N08/1438579129/

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted March 23, 2008, by Anonymous

Does anyone have any pictures of the bridge set back on the pier?

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted March 22, 2008, by Alaska Dude

The span the collapsed has been reset, and lifted back on the pier, and is reopen to all traffic.

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted October 19, 2006, by Anonymous

This is absolutely incredible. The bridge is collapsed from an Earthquake but it is still open to traffic. I had to do a double-take on that. I guess they still have the pioneer spirit in Alaska.....or at least did in 1964.

Million Dollar Bridge
Posted October 19, 2006, by Anonymous

This is absolutely incredible. The bridge is collapsed from an Earthquake but it is still open to traffic. I had to do a double-take on that. I guess they still have the pioneer spirit in Alaska.....or at least did in 1964.