It took about 40 years for the Nenana-Totchaket Bridge to get built. Here’s a timeline, with some of the highlights of that journey.
1980: Former Nenana Mayor Jack Coghill intends to build a road bridge and railroad bridge across the Nenana River, through the Totchaket corridor to the Kantishna River, maybe even all the way to Nome.
1981: City of Nenana has bridge and road plans developed,
followed by seven feasibility studies related to resource development, in conjunction with Alaska State Legislature
1984: Alaska Department of Natural Resources grants city of Nenana 29-mile right of way along Totchaket corridor 1985: Senator Jack Coghill introduces legislation to fund a bridge at $3.2 million and 60 miles of road at $6.3 million. It passes both House and Senate but is vetoed by Gov. Sheffield.
1992: Initial permit is acquired for construction of roads and bridges along corridor.
Sixteen years pass with little to no progress.
Doyon, Limited begins searching for gas/oil in the area. Most of the work is done in winter, with ice roads and bridges.
2007: City of Nenana re-examines land development potential
2008-2009: Eleven miles of road and three smaller bridges are built along Totchaket Corridor right-of-way by Brice Construction and Toghothelle Native Corporation.
2013-2014: Gov. Sean Parnell adds Nenana-Totchaket Bridge to his Roads-to-Resources list. City of Nenana receives $6 million grant to initiate construction, design, permitting, etc.
2018: City of Nenana receives final Coast Guard permit for the bridge. Nenana Native Council applies for and receives US DOT grant for $9.1 million to complete the bridge.
Information courtesy Nenana Mayor Joshua Verhagan.