Juneau scores $1.8 million grant for Brotherhood Bridge Trail

Juneau’s longest paved trail will get its first major reconstruction work since it was first paved in 1996, thanks to a sizable transportation grant.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is awarding the City and Borough of Juneau $1,764,818 for Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as the Brotherhood Bridge Trail. The city plans to repave the trail, which has been damaged by river erosion, tree roots and other issues. It follows the Mendenhall River for a little over 2 miles from the Brotherhood Bridge to River Road.

The city’s grant application cites 2016 survey findings: Almost two out of three Juneau adults visited the trail in the last year.

The city already has work planned this summer to relocate the Brotherhood Bridge trailhead away from the section closed by river erosion. This federally-funded grant will cover work anticipated to begin in 2021, which may include rerouting trail sections or hardening the banks of the Mendenhall River and Montana Creek to deal with erosion. There are also plans for new bridges, bike racks and interpretive signs.

While motorized vehicles aren’t allowed on the trail, the city says the improvements will improve vehicle access for maintenance and emergency response.

In a press release, Juneau Parks and Recreation Director George Schaaf said it’s the largest grant ever awarded for a trail in Juneau. The city has to contribute about $175,000 to the project under the terms of the competitive statewide grant. Schaaf said the city may already have enough for it in an existing capital project account, depending on how much this summer’s work costs.

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