State’s largest mobile crane tackles Coast Guard bridge projects

Bridge 2 located between airport and Buskin River State Park. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A large crane is making the rounds on a couple of Coast Guard projects.

It has a load capacity of 600 tons, and according to the U.S. Coast Guard Base Kodiak Facebook page, it’s the largest mobile crane in the state.

Coast Guard engineer, Eric Zeimer, says before it leaves the island, the crane will help with the installation of a bridge which supports the base’s main water line.

The bridge will carry the pipe from the Coast Guard water treatment plant, across the Buskin River, and to the base.

Zeimer says the existing structure has been there for years.

“It’s a little too low. We had our storm in, I believe, 2008. Trees got lodged in the bridge and it was a dangerous situation. We almost lost the bridge. The bridge is also decrepit and very difficult to maintain because it has no walkway for workers and the paint is lead-based paint, which we don’t want to deal with over the river.”

He says the new bridge is aluminum.

The Coast Guard will also use the crane to remove a defunct bridge located between the airport and Buskin River State Park.

“That’s an old bridge, like a WWII-era bridge that used to be on the old highway before Rezanoff was rerouted, and it hasn’t been in use as a vehicle bridge for many years. It was condemned many years ago because it wasn’t safe even for foot traffic.”

Zeimer says, combined, the projects cost about $3 million, and the Coast Guard has contracted with STG Pacific, which is based out of Anchorage.

He says the new water line bridge should be in place by the end of the week.

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