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Caution: Extra-slow girder convoys heading from Valdez to Salcha

The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) announces that from now until June 2013, 80 extremely slow truck convoys will be transporting giant steel girders up the Richardson Highway.

ARRC wants to remind northbound Richardson Highway drivers to use caution and patience during the transportation process, which will affect the highway from Valdez to the Tanana River Crossing bridge construction site near Salcha, Alaska, at mile 332.

Truck convoys will consist of three wide-load trucks, carrying 165-foot girders, and support vehicles. These convoys will be moving no faster than 25 mph, and traffic delays should be expected during their movement which, in some cases, may take 24 hours one-way.

The steel girders will be used in the construction of the 3300-foot steel span Tanana River Crossing Bridge. When finished, the Tanana bridge and its associated levee will complete the first phase of a four-phase Northern Rail Extension project. Levee construction concluded earlier this year, and six of the 19 bridge piers have been completed. Five more piers are currently under construction, according to ARRC.

The extension project will eventually add some 80 miles of new railway to Alaska's railroad system and extend from Delta Junction to North Pole. The Tanana Crossing Bridge project is expected to be complete by July 2014.

Check the project's website for weekly travel advisories.