As the coronavirus artificially suppresses the heavy bus traffic that accompanies tourist season, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is going forward with five construction projects in Juneau.
“In Alaska, we have a short construction window so we’re moving forward with the construction season,” said Sam Dapcevich, a DOT spokesperson, in a phone interview. “There’s a lot of federal dollars. Statewide, there’s over $700 million in federal spending throughout Alaska. We’re working as hard as we can to keep things moving and get these projects going.”
Relatively light road traffic without dozens of busses coming to and from the cruise ship piers has allowed contractors to work more efficiently, Dapcevich said, particularly downtown.
It’s allowing them to be more efficient,” Dapcevich said. “They may be adjusting schedules of specific items and working during times when they might not have been last year.”
Juneau will have five active projects over the next several months during Juneau’s short construction season, ranging from major work being done to Egan Drive downtown to single stoplights being installed.
“We have about five projects going on in Juneau,” Dapcevich said. “Some of them are already going. Some are about to go out to bid.”
Projects underway or scheduled to begin this season include work downtown, around Lemon Creek, and in the Mendenhall Valley. The most disruptive is likely to be the resurfacing of Egan Drive, Dapcevich said, a $14 million contract scheduled to wrap up in 2021.
“One of the big things we want to public to know is there are no left turns Eighth Street to Main Street,” Dapcevich said. “There’s adjustments being made due to the fact that there’s very little traffic. They’re trying to get as much of that done as they can right now.”
Other projects, including the installation of two roundabouts in the Mendenhall Valley on Mendenhall Loop Road by Stephen Richards Memorial Drive and Floyd Dryden Middle School, are scheduled to be awarded next week, Dapcevich said.
The work is scheduled to go through this summer and finish next season, in 2021. A separate project will replace a four-way stop marked by a flashing red light at Stephen Richards Memorial Drive with a full-service stoplight, Dapcevich said. It’s scheduled to be finished this year.
“We’re coordinating that work with the loop road,” Dapcevich said. “We don’t want to be doing major work on both at the same time.”
In Lemon Creek, work will be focused on Glacier Highway, adding a roundabout at Renninger Street and a stoplight at Davis Avenue, Dapcevich said.
This project isn’t scheduled to begin until later in the summer, and will continue until 2021. A separate project, due to begin and end this year, will survey 60 culverts in the Lemon Creek area to assess requirements for repair or replacement, Dapcevich said.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.