by Diana Haecker ~ February 9th, 2011
Last weekend, Alaska legislators Mark Neuman and Charlie Huggins met with Susitna Community Council members and Mat-Su Borough assemblyman Vern Halter to discuss requests for changes to the Parks Highway road rehabilitation project from mile 83 to mile 90.Representative Neuman said they would try to get additional funds for a turn lane at Hidden Hills and passing lanes at two stretches of road — one north bound, another south bound.
Representative Neuman said that there are three avenues to pursue state funding for those improvements. One is through the capital improvement project list. Another possibility is through the State-wide Transportation Improvements Projects list, also known as STIP. And yet another possibility would be through the Governor’s Roads to Resources program.
Neuman said that the governor directed the Commissioner of the Department of Transportation and the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety to meet with him and Senator Huggins regarding safety issues on the Parks Highway and also Knik-Goose-Bay road.
Another topic the legislators discussed with Susitna Council members was the need for an underpass at the Su Valley High School to allow for safe passage across or underneath the Parks Highway. The Department of Transportation had put this request on the STIP list.
The Parks Highway mile 83 to mile 90 project is supposed to be limited to repave and improve the road bed in order to do away with the seasonal weight restrictions for truckers.
The Susitna Community Council had been actively advocating for added safety features to the Parks Highway rehabilitation project. The DOT has sent representatives to recent council meetings who repeatedly said that bigger changes to the design of the project would have to come through the legislature.