Connecting downtown Sitka and the ANB harbor to the University of Alaska district, the John O’Connell Bridge is cable-stayed and whisks you across the Sitka Channel. It’s the link between Baranof Island and Japonski Island, completed in 1971. Until then, the only way to island hop was to jump on a ferry (which is still available!).

Named after the former mayor of Sitka, the two-lane bridge spans 1,255 feet in totality, with a main span of just 450 feet. It was the first cable-stayed gider bridge for vehicles in the United States. Featuring four 100-foot pylons made of steel and two three-cable sets, this monster of a bridge is capable of taking on big rigs, trucks and SUVs with ease.

A Piece of History

You can walk across the bridge for some spectacular views, which is part of what got Sitka named Alaska’s first walk-friendly community. Ample sidewalks make the short jaunt a fun and exhilarating experience that’s popular with urban hikers and runners.

North Carolina’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center created the walk-friendly awards in 2010, and even though Sitka might not be the typical pedestrian-friendly town, the locals are proud to have such a title. Take a stroll over the bridge and discover your adopted town from a new perspective.