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Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the purpose of the project?

The primary purpose of the proposed project is to relieve congestion and delays on the Glenn Highway near Eagle River. Population growth in the Mat-Su Valley and the Chugiak-Eagle River area has contributed to steadily worsening congestion on the Glenn Highway, especially during peak travel hours. Traffic modeling used for the Municipality of Anchorage’s 2035 Metropolitan Transportation Plan predicts that traffic volumes on the Glenn Highway will double by 2035. The unimproved highway would not have the capacity to absorb the predicted traffic volume increase.

A second benefit of the project is that building new mainline alignments and Eagle River Bridges will allow DOT&PF to construct frontage roads utilizing the old alignments. The east and west frontage roads will allow alternate routes if there is a major crash on the mainline or if there is damage to the mainline from earthquakes or other natural disasters.

What improvements are part of the project?

This two-phase project has completed the first phase.

Phase I of the proposed project included:

  • Adding an additional northbound lane to the Glenn Highway between the Hiland Drive and Artillery Road interchanges. The project will allow for a possible future high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.
  • Realigning the highway to reduce the northbound highway grade of the steep downhill approaching the Eagle River Bridge (sometimes referred to as “Brake Light Hill”).
  • Constructing a new northbound bridge over Eagle River to accommodate the additional lane.
  • Constructing a two-way frontage road east of the mainline from the Hiland Drive to Artillery Road interchange.
  • Eliminating the recurrent highway glaciation/icing problem on the mainline highway south of the river.   

Phase II of the proposed project will:

  • Add an additional southbound lane to the Glenn Highway between the Artillery Road and Hiland Drive interchanges. The project will allow for a possible future HOV lane.
  • Realign the highway to reduce the southbound highway grade south of Eagle River Bridge.
  • Construct a new southbound bridge over Eagle River to accommodate the additional lane.
  • Construct a frontage road west of the mainline from the Artillery Road to Hiland Drive interchange. This west side frontage road will be two way from Artillery Road to the Eagle River Bridge and will be one way from the Eagle River Bridge to the Hiland Road interchange.

 

What is the current project status?

The design phase of the project is complete. DOT&PF is renewing/updating federal, state, and city permits for the project. A contract extension has been signed with the Design/Build (D/B) contractor for the work. The D/B contractor will begin work later in 2019.

When will construction begin?

Utility relocations along Eagle View Drive are anticipated to begin during the second quarter of 2019 and gas line protection work in Eagle River is anticipated later in 2019. Construction on the southbound mainline segment is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2019.

Why was the project put on hold and do you have funding available for the southbound improvements?

Due to the traffic and congestion, this project was seen as a priority for the state. To enable the northbound improvement work to begin more quickly, state funding was designated for the entire project.  However, in 2016, the Alaska economic downturn strained state budgets. With some improvement in state revenues and economic conditions, bond money previously approved by voters has been allocated to the project.

What about the Artillery Road intersection?

The Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) is currently in the design phase for the Eagle River Traffic Mitigation project. DOT&PF is coordinating with the MOA so that any changes to the highway approach to Artillery Road will not preclude changes to the intersection proposed by the MOA.

Will adding new bridge structures increase the chance of flooding?

No. New bridge piers will be constructed near the banks of Eagle River. The placement will not increase the potential for flooding within the existing floodplain.

Will construction impact my commute?

Initial 2019 construction should not impact current weekday commute times, although periodic lane closures may be necessarily. Preliminary work will consist of utility relocations, vegetation clearing, and earth grading in the area between the existing north- and southbound lanes. The D/B contractor will advertise changes to traffic patterns in advance.

In the 2020 construction season, it is anticipated that northbound mainline will be reduced to two lanes for up to 5 months. This will allow two lanes of southbound mainline traffic to be rerouted to the new northbound bridge while the new southbound roadway work is completed. The southbound mainline traffic cannot remain on the current bridge due to differences in roadway elevation and geometric constraints.