Alaska Seeks to Recover Bridge Strike Repair Costs

April 9, 2018

The state will attempt to recoup the costs of repairing a bridge over a major highway outside Anchorage that was struck by an over-height truck last month.

The Alaska Department of Transportation hopes to recover the costs from insurance providers through negotiations to eventually reach a settlement, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Friday.

A truck hauling a modular unit on Glenn Highway scraped off a girder of the Artillery Road overpass, causing about $1.8 million in damages, said Shannon McCarthy, a department spokesperson.

The driver, who worked for Big Horn Enterprises of Fairbanks, was issued citations for the crash. An attorney for the company declined to comment.

A claim will be filed against the company’s insurance provider to attempt to recover as much of the final estimated costs as possible, said Jill Reese, a department spokeswoman.

“Like any owner that gets a settlement, it works like any other insurance claims adjustment,” Reese said. “They look at estimates for replacing the bridge.”

Sometimes that settlement is much less than what the state spends on repairs, officials said.

The state and the insurance company will enter into negotiations to determine what gets paid, Reese said. The back and forth will continue until a decision is made on whether to settle or prosecute.

“The bottom line in the negotiation is that if you don’t want to settle for this amount then we’ll go to court,” Reese said. “Then courts have to decide what are the damages.”

A bridge near the village of Eklutna was damaged twice in the summer of 2010. The bill for repairing the bridge came out to $628,000, but the state was able to recover only $485,000 from the insurance companies, Reese said.

The state usually settles for a reasonable offer instead of going to court for the full amount because the court process can be expensive and the outcome unknowable, Reese said.

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