Million Dollar Bridge, Cordova, AK – June 24 – 27

Bridge to Nowhere or Million Dollar Bridge.

Leaving the 5th wheel parked in Valdez, we took a 3-hour ferry ride, along with the truck, to Cordova.  Cordova is a small city located near the mouth of the Copper River at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound.

Cordova is a uniquely Alaskan community, shaped by its dramatic natural setting, rich cultural heritage, and colorful residents.  Cordova is a working town, nestled in the heart of a spectacular wilderness that still looks to the ocean and forests for its livelihood.

The Miles Glacier Bridge, also known as the Million Dollar Bridge, was built in the early 1900s, across the Copper River fifty miles from Cordova.  It earned its nickname because of its $1.4 million cost, well recouped by the about $200 million worth of copper ore which was shipped as a result of its construction.  One span of the bridge was damaged by the 1964 Alaska earthquake and slipped off its foundation after the earthquake.  The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.  In 2004-2005, the failed span was raised at a public cost of $19 million with the federal government paying over 80% of the cost.  However, The project left locals scratching their heads since a makeshift ramp allowed vehicle access and the only thing on the other side is a gravelly area.

Making things worse, the bridge is no longer accessible by car due to the washing out of another bridge at mile 37 of the Copper River highway.  Child’s Glacier is currently inaccessible by car due to the closure of the Copper River Highway at mile 37, there are two guiding services in town that are offering trips to Child’s Glacier this summer via boat on the Copper River.  With Child’s Glacier inaccessible, we drove 15 miles and took a short hike and visited Sheridan Glacier.  Beautiful Lupins lined the trail.