The Sterling Highway bridge over the Kenai River in Soldotna will be closed to all traffic tonight, Wednesday night and Thursday night.
The closures will be from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night.
Bridge workers will be filling in the coffer dam, which had been dug to 8 to 15 feet below the river bottom in order to construct a center support for the new bridge.
Trucks will be pouring their fill loads into the coffer dam during the next three nights, and the dam will then be removed.
Motorists will need to bypass the bridge by taking the Kenai Spur Highway, Bridge Access and Kalifornsky Beach Road.
Thursday’s closure comes at a bad time for Skyview High School, since its graduation ceremony is set to start at 7 that night at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Anyone attending the ceremony from Sterling, Cooper Landing or anywhere else east of the bridge should plan to make it to the sports center before the bridge closes for the night.
“Be on time,” advised Matt Fischer, Skyview’s activities coordinator. “We start at 7, so at the start it won’t matter. It will just take extra to time get home.”
After the ceremony anyone returning to Soldotna and points east will have to detour through Kenai to get there.
“A lot of people are freaking out about it, but you gotta do what you gotta do,” Fischer said.
The start of an after-graduation party for students at Skyview will not be affected, but the party likely won’t go until 5 a.m., meaning a longer drive home for some grads.
“I think they go pretty late,” Fischer said of the party. “That’s the issue. If the kids are tired driving home we just added on 20 minutes.”
The new bridge is expected to be finished this fall.
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