Summer is finally upon us, and Alaskan residents are eager to get back outdoors. However, construction plans around South Anchorage could bring some headaches for those wishing to get around town. Summer construction in Anchorage is something of an annual tradition. Most Alaskans are familiar with these construction projects and understand their importance at this time of year. After all, construction projects need to begin and finish by the time the winter months roll around again. However, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has six projects slated for this summer that may cause issues for motorists around South Anchorage.
Dowling Road Roundabouts
When the city introduced the roundabouts in 2004, they were a certifiable disaster. Traffic accidents increased dramatically upon their inception. Soon, residents familiarized themselves with the new traffic patterns, and accidents tapered off. The Department of Transportation tweaked the roundabouts in 2009, but now more improvements are coming.
The on and off ramps at Seward Highway are already closed at Dowling. Quality Asphalt Paving (QAP) is the one working on the improvements. The plan is to expand the roundabouts for better traffic flow and replace the overpass bridge. The slated reopen date of the ramps is today, June 3rd, but now the big project begins. The work on the bridge begins around the Dowling Road roundabout area. From Brayton Drive to Homer Drive, Dowling will be closed until October.
The estimated cost of this project is $33 million. Although an October deadline is in effect for most major construction, additional work will continue into next year.
O’Malley Road Construction
The O’Malley Road construction that connects the Upper Hillside to major roads like the Seward Highway will continue from last year. They intend to add sidewalks to the South Anchorage roadway this year. From Livingston Street to Hillside Drive, there will be closures and traffic. Temporary reduced speed limits will slow things down for all in this area.
Federal funds of $22 million will cover the cost of this project. Construction should wrap up in the fall with an October/September opening.
Old Seward Highway
The stretch of Seward Highway from Diamond Boulevard to Dowling Road will receive some much needed attention. This busy road sees the bulk of the traffic around town. All that use has taken its toll on the road. Every time they repair this road, it’s always a hassle. This time should be no different.
$4.3 million of mostly federal funds will cover the construction costs. Construction will continue until the end of summer. Luckily, construction will cease on weekends, but some weekends are still slated for construction.
Airport Heights Drive Construction
This stretch of road connects some of the most important locations in Alaska. The road is fairly good for motorists but an absolute nightmare for pedestrians. The construction plan from last year will continue into this year with a completion date set for July. The work should improve pedestrian walkways and help create pathways between high-traffic locations. The project is federally funded for $1.2 million.
Knik-Goose Bay Road
The Knik-Goose Bay Road is a stretch of road that plagues drivers every year. City officials marked this road as a highly dangerous thoroughfare, and they hope the improvements will make it a safer passage for motorists. This will be a huge undertaking that will span several years. By the end, it will stretch Knik-Goose Bay Road into four lanes with a separated highway.
The plan is to complete this multi-year project in phases. The project begins this summer, but the biggest chunk will continue next year. There should only be minimal delays this summer, but next year it will be much worse. The total cost of the project is anywhere between $40 million and $50 million, and that comes mostly from federal funding.
C Street Intersections
Two busy intersections need to be more pedestrian-friendly. The C Street intersections at Diamond Boulevard and Tudor Road will soon create a much safer means for pedestrians to cross. The construction plans will create a wide island in the middle of the crosswalk. To complete the construction, there will be four total shutdowns of the intersections. No word as of yet on when they plan to close the intersections, but construction should be completed by the end of next summer.
The project will cost $6.7 million in federal funding.