Williamsport-Pile Bay Road: Iliamna River Bridge Replacement

Project Detailsx

Client: Alaska DOT&PF

Location: Iliamna, AK

Year Completed:2019

Servicesx

> Field Inspection
> Project Documentation

 

Project Overview x

Williamsport-Pile Bay Road provides a critical link between Cook Inlet and Iliamna Lake, which drains into Bristol Bay, where the world’s largest commercial sockeye salmon fishery lives.

Commercial fishing crews travel across this route every year, saving them a nearly 1,000-mile journey around the Alaska Peninsula. The road was first constructed in the 1930s and is owned and maintained by the state. The road includes a steel truss bridge crossing over the Iliamna River. In 2003, a record flood event caused significant damage to the original bridge, and a temporary bridge was installed. This project replaced the original bridge with a modern steel girder bridge.

HDL’s Construction Services group had the knowledge, skills, and expertise to handle the pile foundations, concrete bridge elements, and remote logistics involved despite the challenging job site.

HDL provided a construction administration team to inspect, document, and administer the bridge replacement project. The team was comprised of three people – two located onsite and one working out of the Anchorage office. The team utilized a paperless system, preparing documents digitally with touch tablets that were then transferred and backed up in the Anchorage office. This system improved productivity, allowed for clear project records, and reduced costs by allowing office engineering to be performed from offsite.

However, logistics remained a significant challenge for this project. To get to the jobsite, workers had to fly on a small aircraft to a nearby village before traveling by boat to reach their lodging while onsite for the project. Teams then had to travel upriver by boat each day to get to the actual project site, which isn’t a bad place to call your office!

Another challenge was that the Contractor was unfamiliar with some Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ requirements, so HDL’s team worked with them to meet project requirements. Issues occurred during the construction of the drilled shafts for the pier foundations in the river. Still, our staff worked closely with the Contractor to identify and solve the problem in a timely manner, avoiding additional costs to the client.

Ultimately, the project was completed on time with minimal additional costs. In addition, HDL completed its services on time and under budget.

The new bridge greatly benefits the local users and allows for easier movement of goods to the Iliamna Lake area.