The project was one of the first recommendations of the Alaska Military Force Advocacy and Structure Team, the group Gov. Parnell created by administrative order to provide recommendations on retaining and building the state's current military force capability.
More than three-fifths of a mile long, the bridge was designed to allow both wheeled-vehicle and train transport. It is designed to provide dependable, year-round access to the largest military training area in the United States, the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex, which was previously only accessible by ice roads in winter.
The bridge was built in partnership with the Department of Defense. The state of Alaska provided $84 million and the Department of Defense provided $104.2 million for the project.
The bridge was built by the Alaska Railroad Corporation and marks the first phase of the Northern Rail Extension, a four-phase project to extend rail infrastructure 80 miles. Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. served as the general contractor for the project. While the bridge will have immediate military benefit, it still lacks rails, which will be laid during the second phase of the project.