by Phillip Manning ~ August 9th, 2013
Two Parks Highway improvement projects are getting closer to implementation in the Upper Susitna Valley. This year, the highway is being resurfaced to mile post 90, and the work will continue moving north over the next few years.
The Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan calls for the resurfacing of the Parks from mile 90 to mile 146. Additionally, it lays out a plan for a pedestrian underpass near Su-Valley Junior/Senior High School. Jim Amundsen, an engineer with the Department of Transportation, says that both of those projects are getting closer to implementation.
Amundsen says that the resurfacing is divided into two projects, since the work on mile 90 to 99 will also involve widening the shoulder. Both resurfacing plans are planned to go out for bids next spring, with some work possibly starting next year. The DOT is also looking into the possibility of adding passing lanes from mile 90 to 99, but it is not officially part of the project at this time. Amundsen says it would be surprising if all of the resurfacing were done by the end of next summer, and anticipates the resurfacing projects to finish in 2015.
The pedestrian underpass project plan calls for a path to begin at the Talkeetna Spur Road intersection and run to Helena Avenue, then cross under the Parks to Su-Valley. The project will require initial tests of the ground to ensure that hazards, such as groundwater springs, are avoided. Amundsen says that there is also an additional paperwork hurdle, since the project will involve acquiring right-of-way from the Mat-Su Borough. He adds that even though the Borough is in favor of the project, that there are policies and procedures that need to be observed, slowing the process. He is hopeful that the underpass could be completed in 2015, but that it might take until 2016.
Plans for the pedestrian underpass are online at http://www.talkeetnapedestrianimprovements.com.