In The Media

Perched on a Cliff Above the Sea: Building the Ketchikan Water Street Trestle


Building a road along a cliff face next to a waterway is a complex task no matter the location. Add in residential structures, historical considerations and a cold, rainy environment where paving can take place for just four months of the year and overcoming the challenges becomes even more impressive.

John Scott

HDR oversaw the construction of a new $25 million roadway along historic Water Street in Ketchikan, Alaska. Built in 1979, the original trestle bridge was deteriorating to the point that the road could no longer support heavy loads, including garbage trucks, heating oil suppliers or emergency vehicles.

We served as project manager for the three-year project, led by construction manager John Scott, who has nearly four decades of industry experience. Our team was tasked with inspections, materials testing and overseeing construction.

“It was a unique and exciting project,” Scott said in a recent article on the project. “I’m proud of the job and believe that everybody involved worked together and faced the various challenges to make it a successful project.”


The 40-year-old bridge was replaced with three separate structures: a bridge section, a retaining wall and a steel supported trestle. The project also included updates to meet ADA guidelines, new sidewalks and replacement of all utilities. The final design also included unique components to help the road blend in with the historic buildings that line it. The road’s completion was celebrated in a June 2019 ceremony with local and state officials.

Read more about the project and its unique challenges in an October 2019 feature article in Pacific Builder & Engineer.

HDR Aids Reconstruction of Ketchikan Water Street Trestle