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Originally from Montana, Dennis Nottingham came to Alaska in 1962. He grew up in a family of ranchers, builders, and inventors and began his construction and engineering career early in life by building a wide variety of small projects utilizing concrete, masonry, timber and steel. He graduated from Montana State College (now Montana State University) in 1960 with a M.S. in civil engineering (combined structures and geotechnical), and was employed by the Montana Highway Department Bridge Section for about two years. During that period, he designed two major steel plate girder bridges (Missouri and Clarks Fork Rivers) and over twenty grade separation structures on the interstate highway system. From 1962 to 1972, Dennis worked as a building engineer for the Alaska State Highway Department in Juneau (now the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities) and was involved with designing the alignments for the Yukon River Bridge for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and Haul Road project. In 1973, he went to work for R&M Consultants who were contracted to design and engineer a better road from Livengood to the Yukon River after the Hickel Highway route failed in 1969. During this period, Dennis put his academic background and knowledge of structures combined with geotechnical engineering to good use by designing the half mile long orthotropic steel box girder bridge across the Yukon River. For this bridge design, he was awarded the top Lincoln Arc Welding Award for innovative use of welding in bridge construction. This bridge incorporated the first use of low-temperature steel and a seismic design that was twenty years ahead of its time. The Yukon River Bridge was designed in three months, was under construction from 1975 to 1976, cost about $31 million, and at the time was the largest project the state had ever done. During construction of the Yukon River Bridge, he was a consultant for Alyeska Services Company. In 1975, Dennis and his family moved to Anchorage, and in 1979 he and Roy Peratrovich, Jr. formed an engineering and design consulting firm, PND Engineering Consultants. In 1981, with the addition of a new partner, Brent Drage, the company changed its name to Peratrovich, Nottingham & Drage, Inc., Engineering Consultants. As an independent consultant, Dennis Nottingham went on to design many other important bridge structures in Alaska, taught arctic architecture and engineering courses at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and in 2015 was inducted into the Northern Innovators Hall of Fame by the Alaska Statewide Committee for Research. The Hall of Fame credits Dennis Nottingham for designing more than 300 bridges in Alaska. Now retired and living in Carter, Montana, he has won 15 James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation Awards for various projects over his distinguished career.
Click here for more about Dennis Nottingham and the variety of projects he worked on.