Million Dollar Bridge, Alaska.

Ron Niebrugge Alaska, Chugach, Photos, Travel 6 Comments

Million Dollar Bridge, Cordova, Alaska

Million Dollar Bridge crosses the Copper River outside of Cordova, Alaska.

There is an info kiosk near this bridge with photos and descriptions of the hardships the workers faced building this bridge back in 1908.  Having grown up along the Copper River, I have an idea of how cold it can be in the winter – I can’t imagine battling that cold, snow and wind while crossing cables and working in coffer dams back in those days!  This railroad eventually lead to the Kennecott Copper mines and mill near McCarthy, Alaska.  Here is a photo of the Kennecott Mill.

Having said all that – what caught my eye when composing this photo was the shadow created by the bridge. 

As an interesting side note, the furthest span fell into the river after the Good Friday earthquake in 1964.  You can see an older photo here of the Million Dollar Bridge with the downed span.  In 2004 and 2005, this span was raised back into place.  Although the road bed on the bridge is level, I heard a few people complain the span was not raised all the way.  By looking at the shadow you can see the furthest span is a little lower then the others.

Comments 6

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  2. I hope to see the bridge next August and looking at a map, it looks like the road past the bridge (away from Cordova) goes for about 5 miles and then stops. Do you see any difficulty in hiking that road? My biggest concern is bears and wondered if you think it should be safe..

    If you don’t mind, would you send a response to my email address?

    Many thanks, Jeff Koenig

  3. I lived in Cordova at the time of the quake. We often went across this bridge to picnic at the glacier, and would stop on the way to and back to watch the millions of birds. After the quake, all of the roads around Cordova suffered tremendous damage (I don’t think any were paved back then), and many temporary wooden structures were put up to bypass all of the fractured and misaligned sections. On a personal note, it was pretty scary and exciting to go exploring around town for months afterward, and the aftershocks were often dramatic, but it got so we just ignored them. Cordova also had its coastline altered by the mudflats (slough), as much more beachfront heaved up, exposing all the marine life below, much to the delight of the seagulls. For several days it was a mystery as to where the gulls all went (there were none to be found anywhere), but when the USCG cutter Sedge returned they reported that the gulls were feasting on crab wherever they found them exposed from the upheaval.

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    Hi Bruce,

    Wow, thanks for sharing your experience – that is wild! I love hearing about the earthquake. I know a number of people here in Seward that went through the quake, and a few others who were in Valdez, but you are the first from Cordova. The gulls must have thought they died and went to heaven!

    Thanks for sharing,


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