In April 1920, the firm of Modjeski and Angier was engaged by the Alaska Engineering Commission to design a bridge over the Tanana River. The bridge would need to avoid any piers on the river due to the potential damage from powerful seasonal ice flows. Shown here is a map of the proposed crossing locations and a photo of how the railroad previously crossed the Tanana River when it was frozen.
The structure was completed and opened to rail traffic in February 1923. Shown here is the first train crossing on February 9th. The bridge was officially named the "Tanana River Bridge" and was later named the "Mears Memorial Bridge" in honor of Colonel Frederick Mears, chairman and chief engineer of the Alaska Engineering Commission.
Modjeski and Masters was selected to perform structural condition and rating inspection and load capacity ratings for three major bridges in Alaska, including the Mears Memorial Bridge.