Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities—Klehini River Bridge

For 46 years, the old one-lane Parker truss bridge that crossed the Klehini River in Haines served as a monument to remote Alaskan resourcefulness and determination. In the mid-1960s the twin spans were found buried in mud by the side of the road in Juneau, some 90 miles to the south, having previously served since 1931 as a link over the Mendenhall River for remote farmers and fishermen travelling to the capital city. Haines residents looking for cheap access to the Porcupine mining area loaded the discarded spans onto a barge and in 1971, over the objections of the then-Department of Highways engineers, this bridge began its second life.

In recent years, the bridge had been load rated and its condition caused bridge engineers to inspecting it every six months, at significant cost to DOT&PF. In 2017, DOT&PF replaced the dilapidated structure with a 75-year maintenance free bulb-T bridge in order to cut down on those inspecting costs and provide a safer structure for users. Today, the $7.8 million Klehini River crossing, provides an authentic wilderness experience for thousands of river rafters, back country skiers and hikers, and bird enthusiasts who annually trek to the Chilkat Valley Bald Eagle Preserve as well as important fishing access to residents.