EPA, others balk at Tanana rail bridge

From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Wednesday, December 15, 2010:

Federal environmental regulators said Friday a bridge proposed to span the Tanana River represents too big of an environmental risk.

The concern may not stop the project, which has attracted strong advocacy from public officials in the Interior, but it represents at least a crimp in the plan. Managers hope to start construction next year on a bridge-and-levee project that could last four years.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrote its letter of objection Friday to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It follows a similar letter sent in November and arrives alongside similar concerns from several other public agencies.

The Corps is processing a permit application for the project’s sponsor, the Alaska Railroad Corp. The railroad, with funding from the Department of Defense and the state Legislature, wants the bridge to help the military, a major client, get year-round access to huge military training grounds south of the river.

The 3,300-foot bridge would be the longest in the state.