Interior Alaska 2020 Road Construction Updates

We all know there's two seasons in Alaska - Winter and Construction. Construction has already begun with many projects scheduled for Interior Alaska’s roadways during this busy short summer season. Plans include road reconstruction, bridge replacements, surface upgrades, ramp and intersection improvements, round-a-bout construction, lighting and signal work and sidewalk, bike path and barrier upgrades.

iHeartMedia Fairbanks will keep you informed on the traffic impacts and project timelines for the highest-profiled road construction projects in and around Fairbanks, North Pole, and Interior Alaska during the 2020 construction season with weekly updates.

2020 road construction updates brought to you by The Prospector ~ Alaska's Finest Outfitters.

For detailed information on all Alaska road construction projects, including upcoming traffic impacts, visit the Alaska Navigator website.

2020 INTERIOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS - Updated July 3

CHENA HOT SPRINGS ROAD MP 0 to 6 REHABILITATION and STEESE HIGHWAY/CHENA HOT SPRINGS ROAD ROUNDABOUTS : Road Construction through the season

  • Work on this project is expected to begin in July 2020.

CHENA PUMP ROAD / BICYCLE PEDESTRIAN FACILITY REHABILITATION : Road Construction through June

  • Beginning Friday, July 3 through Monday, July 6, crews will not be working in observance of Independence Day.
  • Drivers should expect shoulder work and truck traffic, in addition to possible LANE CLOSURES on northbound Chena Pump Road.
  • Please be aware of possible DELAYS as crews are working in the area.
  • Pedestrian detour routes are currently in place. 
  • Through the end of July, drivers should be aware of shoulder work, including trucks and equipment entering and exiting the road from approaches, side streets, and driveways.
  • Through the end of July, paving will occur intermittently. Pedestrians and bicyclists are being re-routed to the shoulder of the road, which is marked by candles.
  • Drivers should be aware that approaches will be blocked for two hours during paving.

COLLEGE ROAD MEDIAN EXTENSION : Road Construction through the season

  • No activity is planned for this project in the coming week.

DAVIS ROAD RESURFACING : Road Construction through July

  • Drivers should expect intermittent flagging operations within the active work zone.
  • Please be aware of workers on the shoulder and in the roadway.

ELLIOT HIGHWAY MP 0 TO 12 REHABILITATION : Road Construction through October

  • Drivers should be aware of crews performing shoulder work on the Elliott Highway between MP 0 and 12.

FAIRBANKS AREA CONCRETE BARRIER UPGRADE : Road Construction through the season

  • Drivers should expect intermittent LANE CLOSURES in the fall on the following routes:
  • - Richardson Highway, at the highway overpass at Santa Claus Lane in North Pole
  • - Mitchell Expressway, Lathrop Street to the Richardson Highway on and off ramps

FAIRBANKS AREA SIGNAL UPGRADES : Road Construction through December

  • New signals have been installed and are operational at the Illinois Street, College Road, and Bentley Trust Road intersection as well as the Crossover Way and College Road intersection.
  • Work at the intersection of Cowles Street and Airport Way will be complete by July 3.
  • Please be aware of crews working along the shoulder of the roadway and abide by all road work signage.

FAIRBANKS RAMP SIGHT DISTANCE IMPROVEMENTS : Road Construction through the season

  • The eastbound Johansen Expressway/southbound College Road ramp is now paved open to traffic. Striping will be completed after the holiday weekend.
  • Work will begin on the Illinois Street/College Road intersection in mid-July.

FAST AREA SURFACE UPGRADES & INTERSECTION IMPROVEMENTS : Road Construction through October

Road Closure

  • Drivers should expect one-way traffic at South Davis Park Access Road. A one-way route will begin at the Davis Road and Wilbur Street intersection and extend along 25th Avenue until Lathrop Street.
  • Drivers should be aware of sidewalk/curb RAMP CLOSURES on 1st Avenue between Cushman Street and Lacey Street.

FMATS SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENTS : Road Construction through August

  • Sign installation crews are working on Homestead Road between the Old Richardson Highway and Perimeter Road.

GILLAM WAY RECONSTRUCTION : Road Construction through October

  • Drivers should be aware of crews performing shoulder work along Gillam Way.

JOHANSEN EXPRESSWAY and DANBY STREET BIKE PATH RESURFACING : Road Construction through August

  • Drivers and pedestrians should be alert to work at the westbound on-ramps from College Road onto the Johansen Expressway.
  • Through Thursday, July 2, pedestrians should be alert to a bike path closure between University Avenue and Danby Street. Beginning Tuesday, July 7 through Friday, July 10 (depending on weather conditions), this closure is scheduled to reoccur. Please follow posted DETOUR ROUTES, as construction equipment will occupy the entire pathway.
  • Beginning Friday, July 3 through Monday, July 6, the bike paths will be open for pedestrians in observance of Independence Day.
  • Pedestrians should be alert to sidewalk closures at the College Road and Johansen Expressway intersection with pedestrian detour routes posted.
  • Pedestrians should be alert to a bike path closure along Danby Street between College Road and Wembley Avenue. Please follow the posted detour routes.

McGRATH ROAD UPGRADE : Road Construction through the season

  • Beginning Saturday, July 4 through Monday, July 6, crews will not be working in observance of Independence Day. Both lanes of traffic will be open for the weekend. 
  • Crews are performing excavation and asphalt removal operations between Farmers Loop Road and Willow Grouse Road. Drivers should expect large hauling vehicles and construction equipment in the narrow roadway prism.
  • Excavation operations along the shoulder of the roadway will result in hazardous slopes. Please abide by the traffic control and follow PILOT CAR operations at all times.
  • Drivers should expect DELAYS with PILOT CAR and flagging operations being conducted 24/7.

RICHARDSON HIGHWAY, MP 353 to 357 ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS : Road Construction through the season

Road Closure

The Badger Road off-ramp to the southbound Richardson Highway is CLOSED. Drivers should use South Frontage Road as a DETOUR ROUTE.

Beginning Monday, July 6, the intersection of the Old Richardson Highway and the Richardson Highway, south of the Badger Road CLOSURE, will reopen.

  • Traffic on the northbound Richardson Highway is being re-routed onto the southbound lanes (heading towards North Pole) of the Richardson Highway.
  • Beginning Monday, July 6, the northbound traffic of the Richardson Highway is anticipated to be switched back to the northbound side.
  • Beginning Monday, July 6, crews will begin striping the southbound Richardson Highway. Drivers should be aware of ONE-LANE TRAFFIC.

TANANA LOOP and SOUTH CHANDALAR DRIVE INTERSECTIONS & UAF DENALI LANE DRAINAGE IMPROVEMENTS : Road Construction through August

Road Closure

  • Beginning the evening of Friday, July 3, crews will be reopening Tanana Loop, Alumni Drive, Chandalar Drive, East Tanana Drive, and Salcha Street to traffic.
  • Denali Lane will be CLOSED to through traffic.
  • Pedestrian and bicycle traffic should follow DETOURS around and through the construction area.

UNIVERSITY AVENUE and AIRPORT WAY RECONSTRUCTION : Road Construction through October

Road Closure

University Avenue is CLOSED between Airport Way and Rewak Drive. Please follow the posted pedestrian and vehicle DETOUR ROUTES. 

  • The eastbound lanes of Airport Way are CLOSED. Please follow the reduced speed limit. 
  • Pedestrians will be able to cross Airport Way at University Avenue using the pedestrian crosswalks. 

UNIVERSITY AVENUE WIDENING, REHAB, and BRIDGE REPLACEMENT : Road Construction through October 2021

ROAD CLOSURE

Starting mid-July, University Avenue will be CLOSED between Airport Way and Goldizen Avenue until October 2021.

  • Work to begin demolishing the Chena River Bridge will begin later this summer.
  • A temporary bridge will allow for pedestrian and bicycle access over the Chena River during the road closure.
  • All business access will remain open during construction.

DOT&PF plan to move forward with demolition of the Chena River Bridge on University Avenue this fall, followed by construction of a new bridge in its place. Starting mid-July 2020, University Avenue will be closed between Goldizen and Airport and will remain closed through the winter and next construction season, with completion date of October 2021. Pedestrian access will remain open via a temporary pedestrian bridge, but no vehicles will be able to pass through. All access to businesses will also remain open.

We know an extended closure like this has a huge impact on drivers, businesses, and residents in the area. The decision to close the road for this extended period was carefully considered. Here are the reasons that led us to this decision.

  1. We must demolish the bridge in the fall when water levels are low and there is no ice in the river. In order to prevent the old concrete from contaminating the river, divers must saw away sections of concrete under the water line from the old piers. This sensitive work cannot be completed safely when there is ice in the river or water levels are high. If we were to wait until summer to demolish the bridge, there would not be enough time to construct the new bridge before winter.
  2. A large bridge with utilities, like this one, takes longer than one summer to complete. Construction on the new bridge will begin this winter when we begin driving the bridge supports (piling) into the river. This summer we are relocating some of the utilities under the river and installing a prefabricated pedestrian bridge. After it is complete, this will be the widest bridge in Fairbanks with four lanes, a median, and two separated pedestrian paths on either side.
  3. There is not enough space to build a temporary bridge. The bridge on University Avenue is tightly surrounded by private property and a state park. The state park in particular, where we have a permit to stage equipment during the summer of 2021, has strict environmental requirements governing the length of time we are able to occupy that space. Building a temporary bridge for a long duration was not feasible in this location.

DOT understands this closure will be difficult for the Fairbanks community, "We drive these roads, too, and we feel those same frustrations. But we are reassured by the fact that when the new bridge opens sixteen months from now, it will be safer for vehicles and pedestrians, less congested, and an overall aesthetic improvement to the whole corridor." More information about the University Avenue Corridor Widening and Reconstruction project can be viewed at http://dot.alaska.gov/nreg/university/#2020

WENDELL AVENUE BRIDGE REPLACEMENT : Road Construction through the season

This project is expected to begin in summer 2020.

2020 road construction updates brought to you by iHeartMedia Fairbanks and The Prospector ~ Alaska's Finest Outfitters.

For detailed information on all Alaska road construction projects, including upcoming traffic impacts, visit the Alaska Navigator website.

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