WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - As officials review options for the Knik-Goose Bay Road Reconstruction project, an open house is being held in Wasilla Thursday so that area residents and other members of the public may provide feedback, meet the project team and check out project design plans for themselves.
"We wanted to bring our road designs for Knik-Goose Bay to the public," said Tom Scmid of the Department of Transportation. "Show them what we've being doing over the last year, and really try to finalize the design so we can get this under construction."
The focus of the project and latest open house is the primarily federally-funded reconstruction of KGB Rd. from Centaur Ave. to Vine Rd. and the primarily state-funded reconstruction of KGB Rd. from Vine Rd. to Settler’s Bay Dr.
As of now, the roadway is a dangerous place, with tens of thousands of drivers crowding it each day. Half a dozen or so of those drivers never made it home in the last year alone. The roadway did become a designated safety corridor about a decade ago, which has reduced fatal crashes, but not eliminated them.
The two projects, however, are meant not only to improve safety on one of Alaska’s most dangerous roadways, but also specifically to reduce congestion, increase capacity, and improve travel efficiency.
"Traffic has doubled in the last decade, and it's very busy," said Scott Thomas, also of the Department of Transportation. "And we think traffic is going to double again. There's a lot of land out here, so we need more lanes than two lanes."
The 8.1-mile stretch of road is also divided into two phases of construction, to commence in the next couple of years: Construction on the section running from Settler’s Bay Dr. to Vine Rd. was expected to begin in 2020, while the portion between Vine Rd. and Centaur Ave. would begin in 2021. Now, construction for the first phase has been pushed back to 2021.
Design-wise, the Department of Transportation will have changed the existing two-lane road into a four-lane divided roadway complete with pedestrian facilities, turn pockets, access control, traffic signals, drainage, and other related improvements. A diagram provided by the Department of Transportation shows a typical section as having two 12-foot-wide lanes for both directions of traffic, separated by a 30-foot-wide depressed median. Each two-lane side would have a four-foot-wide shoulder on the inside lane, next to the median, and an eight-foot-wide shoulder next to the outside lane. One side of the roadway would also have a 10-foot-wide pathway for pedestrian traffic.
"There's a lot of engagement to be had," Thomas said, for example, in order to acquire land from property owners, which will begin in late 2019.
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