Construction projects continuing in Palmer as State Fair approaches

PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - Several construction projects along the Glenn Highway are underway, as the Department of Transportation works to make the roads safer this summer.

Thousands of people from all over the state are expected to be traveling through Palmer starting late next month as the Alaska State Fair gets underway. The Department of Transportation wants to make sure people do so safely as construction continues.

The project consists of adding two lanes in each direction, designated turning lanes, a grass median and a frontage road in an effort to make the stretch of the Glenn Highway from milepost 34 to 42 safer.

"We had some crashes out there that were very concerning," said DOT Spokesperson, Shannon McCarthy, "and this four lane divide really adds capacity so people can move over to the right and faster traffic can clear the area, and also it just provides more capacity and good visibility as well."

While construction for this $36.6 million phase of the project will continue through the summer, DOT officials say they're working to ensure things go smoothly once the Alaska State Fair gets started later next month.

"It's really important to us to maintain access to all the parking areas at the fair," said McCarthy. "We will be working closely with the traffic control contractor for the fair to make sure that we have great signage, and then no restrictions to traffic obviously on our part, so that means no flagging operations, no lane restrictions, because we want people to be able to get in and get out as they normally do."

The contract for the Glenn Highway construction project in Palmer technically ends in 2020, so it is possible we won't see this construction completely finished until next summer, but DOT spokesperson Shannon McCarthy says the bulk of the work is expected to be completed this year.

Also in Palmer, construction is now underway for the Glenn-Parks northbound ramp, also known as the 'Palmer Flyover', to open two lanes of traffic since it was reduced down to one after the earthquake.

That construction is expected to wrap up next Tuesday.

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