A long planned connector road between Providence Drive and Northern Lights Boulevard picked up speed in April when the Alaska Legislature allotted $20 million in capital funds during the waning days of the legislative session to pay for the project.
"It's the fastest growing employment area in the city, but along with that come traffic and trips that are generated," said Dowl HKM President Stewart Osgood.
Osgood’s firm is the contractor hired by the Alaska Department of Transportation to whittle down potential designs of the road.
"We know that we're going to need to make trail connections, we know that we're going to need to preserve to the extent that we can, the connectivity for the non-motorized users through this area, and that may mean bridges over the road, tunnels under the road,” said Osgood.
Two of the proposed routes would begin along Providence Drive, another at UAA Drive. Another blueprint would extend Elmore Road through UAA and APU with the end of the route terminating on East Northern Lights near Wesleyan or on Bragaw Street near East High School.
“If we were in Chicago, New York, Seattle, they would laugh at us,” said Peter Mjows. “This is not a problem, and we're talking about another road."
Mjows is past president of the Rogers Park Community Council, and was among dozens of people at an open house Tuesday to hear about the plan. Mjows’ community council voted twice to oppose any road through the university.
Others feel the road would only add to the congestion that's already present on campus.
"It's pretty much a done deal, we're being consulted after the fact,” said Russ Kell of the University Area Community Council.
Representative Andy Josephson's district lies within most of the construction zone.
The Anchorage Democrat said he unsuccessfully tried to block the funding for the road on the house floor last spring and still opposes the access road.
Dowl HKM said it will hold another public hearing in a few months when they plan to unveil their preferred route. It could be another 18 months before any work on the project begins.
Contact Adam Pinsker