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Tanana Bridge to Support Interior Development and Military

September 28, 2011, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell called Wednesday's ceremonial groundbreaking for the Tanana River Bridge a sign that the state is not only open for diverse business, but a willing economic development partner with the federal government.

The Tanana River Bridge will be nearly one mile long when completed and allow wheeled-vehicle transport and train transport when finished.

It's designed to provide dependable ground access to the largest training area in the United States, the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC).

This facility is the nation's premier training space, and when coupled with the Gulf of Alaska Naval Training Area, all four branches of military can train together, in real-world scenarios, without disrupting large communities. This cannot occur anywhere else in the United States.

"This facility is often overlooked in our strategy to attract new business to the state," Governor Parnell said. "Building this bridge shows we are committed to making sound infrastructure investments to diversify and grow our economy."

The project received joint funding from the military and the State of Alaska, demonstrating a shared development burden with the Department of Defense.

This collaboration also illustrates both governments addressing a need and making optimal use of our resources. "Building this bridge allows commanders to plan training for brigade-sized elements in both the winter and the summer," Maj. Gen. Tom Katkus, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard, said. "Before, the Army would use an ice bridge to cross the river, and could only effectively train using wheeled-vehicles during some of the coldest months of winter, severely limiting the potential use of JPARC."

The bridge is expected to be open for use in the summer of 2013.

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