The $190 million bridge at Salcha will span a 3,300-foot section of the Tanana River, marking the first phase of a four-phase project that planners hope will eventually bring a new rail line to Delta Junction. Says Sherman Stebbins of his photos, "A lot got done on the bridge this summer! The photos I took were from an altitude of about 3,000 feet. I flew with my friend Jesse Cummings from 'Golden Eagle Outfitters' here in Delta Junction. We made a complete circle around the project to take pictures. We did not want to fly to low to seem a threat. The bridge is also on the southern edge of airspace of Eilson Air Force base so didn't want to malinger to long."
[Added 3/5/12] "I was leaving town early a few mornings ago and Carlisle trucks were fueling up at a local station here in Delta Junction. For safety they had been delivering these at night for the past month from Valdez to the new bridge construction in Salcha. One of the drivers told me they got a little behind schedule so they had to make a delivery during daylight hours. This meant a good photo op! Each girder is 165 feet long. The whole rig with girder hauling down the highway is about 210 feet. Total trip from Valdez to Salcha is about 350 miles. I didnt ask but I am sure it is taking about 12 hours or more for each girder to get to the bridge. It just so happened an engineer was traveling in a support vehicle on this trip. He stated that these girders are spanning the Tanana River 4 wide then the rail and road decking will be placed on top. If you do the math it seems like well over 100 girders? It would be neat if someone new the exact number for input. These are very interesting rolling down the highway!"
We are truly indebted to Sherman Stebbins for hiring a pilot to fly him over the project and thus providing us with a series of photos showing the current status. Sherman adds, "Hi John! Just got in the door from an aerial photo trip! I thought much more progress would have been made on the bridge. Looks as if just a few of the girder spans are in place. Hopefully they will be laying rails by this time next year! Hope everyone enjoys the photos!" 10/20/13