ANCHORAGE -

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities says it wants to update a heavily-traveled section of roadway to increase safety.

After nearly 40 years, the Muldoon-Glenn Highway interchange has become so busy that its original design can no longer accommodate the traffic flow.

According to the DOT, about 50,000 cars drive along the Glenn Highway and about 30,000 travel on the Muldoon Road, which has led to severe traffic jams.

DOT Project Manager Tom Schmid says it's a safety issue. "We have a lot of safety related crashes due to the existing traffic patterns out there," Schmid said.

The interchange was originally constructed in 1974 and newly developed areas like the Tikahtnu Commons and other structures have helped increase popularity among drivers in the area.

"For the most of its life its operated fairly well, it's only been since recent development on the north side that's congested things," Schmid said.

Local businesses in Tikahtnu Commons say the area is frequently congested, so fixing the interchange would be welcomed.

Patricia Newson, store manager of Avalanche Frozen Yogurt says adjusting traffic flow could help her business.

 "I think it would be either good or bad, good as in changing the access to it making it more accessible to cars more people might stop in but if you change it too much, it will take away from the business that comes in here to wait for traffic before heading all the way back home," Newson said.

Thema Sherrod who manages Celebrity Nails says she's also for upgrading the interchange.

 "I think that would be a very good idea just because a lot of business comes after everybody gets off of work so that's during the really bad traffic times and a lot of times when we have appointments booked out during for like the later times of the day they're really late," Sherrod said.

Other Anchorage residents who travel the area frequently, like Kayla Smith say something needs to be done to improve traffic patterns.

"I think they can keep the right lane, but instead of having it turn off to the exit, they should just make it a wider overpass so they can keep that lane there without having to merge over to get into that one lane," Smith said.

The DOT's plans to upgrade the area includes two designs. One would be a "diverging diamond" that would allow for a higher capacity of cars than normal and make turning left easier. The other option they are considering is a "partial clover leaf," which is not much different than the interchange's current layout, but the configuration would provide different signal patterns and add more lanes.

The DOT says it would cost the state $51 million to construct the partial clover leaf pattern, but the diverging diamond would only cost $42 million.

"It depends on funding and demand," Schmid said. "The focus of the department is to move ahead as quickly as possible."

Schmid says the Glenn-Muldoon improvement project could push forward in the next two months with the designs and it could take up to 2 years to complete the project.