New fence to stop pedestrians from crossing Seward Highway

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It has long metal posts with points on top. A new fence was being installed Monday morning, in order to try to prevent pedestrians from dashing across the New Seward Highway in south Anchorage.

"This is a little bit more of a stout pedestrian fence," said Shannon McCarthy, spokesperson for the Alaska Dept. of Transportation. "It's part of our overall effort to keep pedestrians on pedestrian facilities, and keep traffic where it's supposed to be, and not mixing the two."

[MAP: Anchorage Pedestrian and Cyclist Collisions]

The 1,300-foot long section of metal fence is along Brayton Drive, between the O'Malley Road and Abbott Road exits. The area has had a long-running problem with pedestrians cutting across the busy highway.

"The car that's closing on you, closes on you much more quickly than your steps can carry you over to the next lane, so it's highly dangerous," McCarthy said. "A lot of times, people misjudge – especially younger people, who we find are the majority of people who are crossing the road."

Along with the new fencing, DOT is installing new pedestrian and bike lanes as part of the expansion of the New Seward Highway between Dowling and Dimond. The plan includes new pedestrian tunnels under the highway.

"Once 76th Avenue is connected to Lore, there will be another pedestrian crossing there," McCarthy said. "Our next project is Dimond to O'Malley. And that will also create pedestrian opportunities, including a connection from the 92nd Avenue area over to Academy Drive."

Alaska D.O.T. has plans to install a similar fence in the vicinity of Muldoon Road and the Glenn Highway.

"While there was existing fencing, people were cutting it and allowing folks to go back and forth," McCarthy said.

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