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State road projects under way

Posted: June 18, 2014 - 11:01am
One lane of traffic is halted at the intersection of East End Road and Kachemak Drive on Tuesday, while oncoming traffic maneuvers through road construction activities taking place between mile 3.75-12.1.  Photo by McKibben Jackinsky,  Homer News
Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News
One lane of traffic is halted at the intersection of East End Road and Kachemak Drive on Tuesday, while oncoming traffic maneuvers through road construction activities taking place between mile 3.75-12.1.

If it’s summer, it’s roadwork season in Alaska. From widening to repaving, new culverts to new bike paths, Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities crews are making their presence known. 

Rehabilitation of East End Road, from mile 3.75-12.1, is among those projects in progress. The project is designed to improve the road surface and improve safety from Kachemak Drive to McNeil Canyon. 

Total cost of the project is $11.7 million.

The lead contractor on the project is Granite Construction Co., a national company that, for this contract, is home-based in Anchorage, according to Shaun Combs, the state’s project engineer.

Lanes are being widened, shoulders are being broadened and the work will improve visibility along that curving, rolling stretch of road. Improving drainage will require the installation of some large pipe. 

The project also will extend the existing pathway on the north side of East End Road to McLay Road, where it will cross the highway and continue on the south side.

“The crossing at that point will have an amber light for caution and a pedestrian push-light,” said Combs. 

Utility crews began their work on that stretch of highway in the spring. Most visible were new power poles going into place on the north side of East End Road. Survey and clearing work was done during May.

The work is scheduled for two phases, with this summer’s work wrapping up around late September. Completion of the project is set for fall of 2015. 

“Another part of this project a lot of people don’t know is that we’re also doing resurfacing of miles 12.5-19.6,” said Combs of efforts to address frost heaves along that stretch of roadway. The existing surface is being cut down and new fill brought in.

“And we’re doing a bunch of ditch-digging and then repaving,” said Combs. 

Hours of work for this project are 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. six days a week. 

Flaggers and pilot cars are helping direct traffic.

“We’re usually off the road by 6 p.m., but do have the option to work until 10 p.m. if need be,” said Combs. “When we get into the paving activities, it could easily be 12-hour days.”

Another section of state road being resurfaced this summer is the Sterling Highway from milepost 173-179, the intersection with Pioneer Avenue to the end of the Spit. 

“Full-depth repairs are expected at Sterling Highway and Greatland Street and Sterling Highway from Poopdeck Street to the western Safeway entrance,” said Laura Paul, the state’s project manager.

The project includes reconstruction of road embankment in some areas. It also addresses improvements to curb ramps, pathways and sidewalks, rip-rap bank stabilization, armor stone salvage and replacement, guardrail and guardrail end treatments, automatic traffic recorders, drainage, signage, striping and landscaping.

The total basic bid for the project is $6.8 million. Granite Construction Co. also was awarded this bid. 

“The project is anticipated to begin in late June, beginning of July,” said Paul. “The project completion date is June 30, 2015. There is an interim completion date of Sept. 15, 2014, for the final lift of hot mix asphalt to be completed.” 

While work is in progress, one lane of traffic will be maintained at all times. Lane restrictions are anticipated between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday. Motorists can expect 10-minute stopped delays during paving operations.

A preconstruction conference was to be held in Anchorage earlier this week for the purpose of narrowing down the start date, project details and contact information for the project office.

“Jim Rasi is the delegated project engineer and will post updates on alaskanavigator.org,” said Paul. “We anticipate having a public meeting during the second week of July.”

• For more information on East End Road Rehabilitation, call 907-226-3070. It is a 24-hour line; if no one answers, leave a message.

• For more information on all DOT projects, visit alaskanavigator.org and 511.alaska.gov, click on desired area or project.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

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