"The trestle itself is sound and stable but the structural decking needs to be replaced before the weight limit can be increased again," said Kiefer.
The CBJ imposed the axle weight limit after a recent Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities inspection determined wear problems with the structural decking. Engineers confirmed the general soundness of the trestle but require a reduced axle weight limit be imposed to account for the reduced deck strength.
City engineers are working to prepare cost estimates and plans for the trestle repair. Since the road will have to be closed to make the necessary repairs, planners do not expect the project to begin before the fall of 2008. "We are working to secure funding to make the needed repairs to the trestle," said CBJ Deputy Manager Kim Kiefer. "Our best estimate at this point is to plan to make the needed repairs next fall."
Most regular passenger cars and pickup trucks will not be affected. Large equipment, heavy trucks, and delivery vehicles will likely exceed the axle weight load limit.
The axle load rating provided on each vehicle is normally located on a tag in the door jamb of the driver's side door. Generally, three numbers are listed: "GVWR" is the gross weight of the whole vehicle, and "Front GAWR" (front gross axle weight rating) is the front axle rating and "Rear GAWR" is the rear axle rating. The Front and Rear GAWR are the relevant ones for the weight restriction limit in this case.
Signs telling motorists of this weight limit are now in place. Operators of large vehicles should be sure of the axle weight limits of their vehicles before attempting to cross the trestle. The last place a large vehicle could turn around on Basin Road prior to the trestle is at 8th Street.