Summer in Alaska Expect Construction Delays
A steady stream of vehicles exited the outbound Glenn Highway at the S. Peters Creek exit for three days last week as crews from Granite Construction performed upgrades on the S. Peters Creek exit overpass bridge upon which highway traffic usually travels to cross Ski Road as it intersects with Glenway Drive on the Knik Arm side of the highway.
Traffic was forced to exit the main highway leading to the Mat-Su Valley and cross over Ski Road to re-enter the highway on the other side of the bridge.
Traffic regularly backed up between the Glenn Highway’s two Birchwood exits with campers, cars, motorcycles and trucks at times at a stand-still from Thursday through Sunday, May 19 – 22. Construction crews worked on bridge repairs as well as repaved 14 miles of the Glenn Highway, according to the Alaska State Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities website’s Navigator feature.
Commuters can expect some delays this summer as the state DOT moves forward with repaving 22 miles of the Glenn Highway between Anchorage and Eklutna in an effort to combat those infamous ruts by filling them in with ground-up asphalt.
Shannon McCarthy, Alaska DOT spokesperson, told attendees at the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Make-it-Monday weekly luncheon that fixing the ruts is about much more than creating a smoother driving surface.
“If you have rutting or cracking, that water gets into the pavement, then it can damage the sub-base and that’s an expensive repair,” McCarthy said during her address to the luncheon. “We’re grinding up the asphalt, filling in any low spots and we’re repaving it, and that really preserves the whole highway.”
Alaska gets a better grade than most of the Lower 48 when it comes to evaluating highway and road maintenance, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. The national group gave Alaska C- on its latest report card outlining performance on infrastructure maintenance. That is not a stellar grade review, but it beats the national average of a D+.
The Alaska DOT is set to spend approximately $700 million across the state fixing roads and airport runways. Of that dollar figure, only $70 million is derived from state funds. The remainder comes from federal highway dollars. Alaska netted $2.6 billion from the Fix America’s Surface Transportation Act in 2015.
Editor’s Note: Learn more about state highway construction and possible traffic delays online at //511.alaska.gov.