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Tanana River Bridge at Salcha Designed by Hanson Selected as Finalist for Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award

One of six projects ASCE selected as OCEA finalists


The Tanana River Bridge at Salcha, Alaska, is a finalist for the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) award.

Courtesy of Hanson Professional Services Inc.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Tanana River Bridge in Salcha, Alaska, has been selected as a finalist for the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (OCEA) award. Hanson Professional Services Inc. designed the 3,300-foot-long bridge.


The bridge is one of six projects ASCE selected as OCEA finalists. According to ASCE, the award “honors the project that best illustrates superior civil engineering skills and represents a significant contribution to civil engineering progress and society. Honoring an overall project rather than an individual, the award celebrates the contributions of many engineers.”


The bridge is the first phase of the Alaska Railroad Corp.’s Northern Rail Extension, a project that will create an 80-mile railway between North Pole, Alaska, and Delta Junction, Alaska. The extension will provide a safer, all-weather transportation option and give the military improved, year-round access to a one-million-acre training range south of the Tanana River. Hanson has been providing design engineering services since 2006 for the four-phase extension project, including hydraulic and structural engineering services and addressing geotechnical, hydraulic and seismic issues for the bridge.


At 3,300 feet, the bridge is the state’s longest and is designed to serve roadway and railroad traffic with a single bimodal deck. The 20-span bridge was built for $187 million — $1 million under budget — and on time, with a three-year construction process. The designers had to account for wind, water pressure, scouring, sheet ice, ice jams and severe flooding in an area with a broad flood plain. The bridge crosses the glacier-fed, braided Tanana River at a remote site in an area with active and potentially active seismic faults and temperatures that range from occasional highs near 90 degrees to lows near 70 below zero. During construction, piles for the bridge were driven and concrete was placed at 20 below zero in the winter. Ice flows and damming during ice breakup in the spring required the construction causeway and temporary bridging to be removed and replaced.


The winning project will be announced March 17 during the Outstanding Project and Leaders Awards Gala in Arlington, Va. For more information about this year’s finalists, visit http://blogs.asce.org/2016-ocea-finalists-demonstrate-excellence-in-form-and-function.


Hanson is a national, employee-owned consulting firm providing engineering, planning and allied services. The firm’s corporate headquarters is located at 1525 S. Sixth St., Springfield, IL 62703. The office may be reached by phone at (217) 788-2450.

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