The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly decided to put the brakes on plans by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to put in a series of roundabouts on Mendenhall Loop Road.
After concerns were raised by Assembly member Wade Bryson over whether DOT’s plans were the correct decision, the Assembly voted not to allow Watt to negotiate the sale of all the parcels requested by the Department.
“Not a single resident I’ve spoken to is in favor of this plan,” Bryson said.
DOT has proposed building two roundabouts on Mendenhall Loop Road, one in front of Floyd Dryden Middle School and another at the intersection with Stephen Richards Memorial Drive.
DOT had originally planned to build a third at the intersection with Valley Boulevard, but according to the department website that part of the project has been delayed due to budget constraints. The Department has been planning the project since 2013.
When Bryson objected, the Assembly began to discuss what it would take to send the plan back to the planning phase. Watt said that it could go back to the relevant committees, but DOT would need to be involved as it was ultimately their plan.
Watt suggested the Assembly vote to approve beginning the negotiations to sell the land in order to keep the project moving forward, but to work with DOT to come up with a more acceptable plan.
He cautioned that a “do-nothing” plan might result in DOT abandoning any improvement projects along the road and may not be the best course of action.
Assembly member Rob Edwardson was cautious of approving the sale, saying that doing so would effectively be a rubber stamp on the project.
“We’re not going to get to the 11th hour and then vote ‘no,’” Edwardson said.
He added that he was in favor of DOT’s plan, but he did find Bryson’s concerns valid.
The Assembly ultimately voted not to allow Watt to move ahead with the sale of the parcel of land DOT had requested near the intersection with Stephen Richards Drive.
The next item on the agenda was to make the same request for a parcel of land near Floyd Dryden Middle School, but considering the Assembly’s previous vote Watt said it seemed he needed to consult with DOT and withdrew the item.
The proposal to sell the parcels will now go back to the CBJ Lands Committee.
The Assembly voted to sell land to DOT for improvements to Glacier Highway in Lemon Creek, but not any of the parcels the department requested for improvements along Mendenhall Loop Road.
• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.