By Adam Pinsker
10:26 PM AKDT, August 4, 2012
Friday's shut down of the Glenn Highway has some state officials worried about the economic havoc it caused on the region.
State troopers closed the roadway between Eklutna and Anchorage for 8 hours after shooting a car chase suspect.
Drivers were backed up for miles, many of them missing planes or arriving at work late because there's no othe route around the road block.
"I was trying to get out to the Mat-Su, oh I think it was last fall," said Shannon McCarthy. "I left an hour-and-a-half before my meeting began, and there were two or three crashes and they were minor, we had to turn around at the base, because we had already been in traffic for an hour."
McCarthy is a spokesperson for the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority, which is pushing for a bridge to be built linking Port MacKenzie and the Port of Anchorage. The route would allow drivers a way around the Glenn Highway through Wasilla and down into Anchorage.
The price tag is between $750 million and a billion dollars.
"What we're asking the private sector to do is bring their equity to the table, build the bridge, design it and we'll pay it back over time," adds McCarthy.
But planners are still holding out hope for $150 million dollars in reserve funding from the state legislature before breaking any ground.
Opponents say the authority is putting the cart before the horse, because they're annexing right of way before securing the extra funding.
"Have other ways to get the necessary traffic through without having to build an entire new city, on the other side of Port MacKenzie," said Anchorage Resident Bob French.
He says adding an extra lane or creating turn lanes for traffic to divert off the highway in the event of an accidnent would be a cheaper, more efficient alternative to the bridge.
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