Q. What is the current project and why are there several titles?
A: Many planned improvements to the Seward Highway through Indian and Bird Creek have been under consideration since 2006. A wide range of alternatives have been considered including: upgrading existing facilities, realigning the highway, and adding frontage roads. The original Seward Highway Milepost (MP) 99-105 project was broken into two phases in 2012: Seward Highway MP 99-100 and Seward Highway MP 100-105. The preferred alternatives advanced are described below. The MP 99-100 project is described for clarification purposes only and will be constructed separate from this project.
Seward Highway MP 99-100
- This project is one phase of the larger MP 99 – 105 project;
- This phase will extend the existing northbound passing lane located south of Bird Creek by approximately 1 mile;
- Please contact Sean Baski at firstname.lastname@example.org with project-specific comments and questions concerning the Seward Highway MP 99 – 100 project.
Seward Highway MP 100-105 (3R)
- This phase will improve the existing road from MP 100-105 by utilizing the Resurfacing, Rehabilitation and Restoration (3R) approach;
- Includes resurfacing the existing roads, upgrading guardrail and culverts as needed, and adding 1-mile of multi-use pathway from Indian Road to Indian Creek on the north side of the highway;
- Construct an undercrossing at the Indian Creek Bridge to connect the new pathway to the existing trail on the south side of the highway (Bird to Gird);
- Replace the Indian Creek Bridge; and
- Rehabilitate the Bird Creek Bridge.
Seward Highway Left Turn Lanes (HSIP)
- This project was nominated in 2013 under the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) and will be combined with the Seward Highway MP 100 – 105 project;
- Improvements include adding left turn lanes on the Seward Highway at the Boretide Road and Sawmill Road Intersections;
- Improvements include road widening for turn lanes, installing an overhead flashing beacon at the Sawmill
Q. What actions and public coordination have taken place to date?
|Date||Description of Activities|
|2006||Public and Agency Scoping|
|March – September 2006||Environmental Studies|
|Fall 2006||Draft Preliminary Engineering Report|
|January 2007||Draft Environmental Document|
|February 2007||Public Open House|
|Summer 2007||Reports Finalized|
|April 2011||Environmental Documents Approved|
Public outreach will begin again in fall 2014 for the 3R and HSIP project and will continue through final design.
Q. What does 3R mean?
A: 3R is short for Resurfacing, Rehabilitation and Restoration. The Federal Highway Administration defines 3R projects as:
“Projects that extend the service life of highways, bridges, and related appurtenances; and/or restore safe, efficient travel on an existing facility. They are typically constructed within existing right-of-way, although minor acquisitions may be needed.”
Q. What does HSIP mean?
A: Highway Safety Improvement Program. The Federal Highway Administration defines HSIP as follows:
“A highway safety improvement project is any strategy, activity or project on a public road that is consistent with the data-driven State Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) and corrects or improves a hazardous road location or feature or addresses a highway safety problem.”
Q. Where can I find a copy of the Alaska Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP)?
A: This website has a link to the SHSP under Documents or the Alaska DOT&PF Website has a link to download a copy.
Q. Where is the funding coming from and how much funding is needed for the project?
A: HSIP and 3R projects are funded by the Federal Government through the Federal Highway Administration. The HSIP and 3R are estimated to cost approximately $30 million (including design, right-of-way acquisition, utility, and construction costs). Cost estimates will be further refined as the project design is finalized.
Q. Where does the project start and end?
A: Construction is anticipated to begin in 2017 and will likely take one year to complete. The construction schedule will depend on funding availability, right-of-way acquisition, and environmental and utility certification.
Q. Is there still a plan for a four-lane, divided highway?
A: DOWL HKM, through DOT&PF, is working on a route development plan to evaluate the feasibility of a four-lane, divided highway along the Seward Highway. Please refer to the following project website for additional information: http://www.dowlhkm.com/projects/seward_highway_rdp/index.html
Q. How much right-of-way (ROW) is needed for this project?
A: There may be a need to acquire limited ROW for the multiuse pathway and HSIP turn lanes, but full parcel acquisitions are not anticipated at this time. Temporary construction easements and permits will be needed during construction to match existing driveways and for detours
Q. How will the previously-completed effort be carried forward?
A: This work will supplement the ongoing effort. The Preliminary Design &Environmental (PD&E) reports and studies completed prior to 2008 provided the foundation for ongoing work; the multi-use pathway and 3R improvements remain part of the current engineering effort. Since the completion of the PD&E phase, it has been learned that the bridge over Indian Creek no longer meets current design standards and needs to be replaced. A new environmental document is needed to replace the bridge. Public comments submitted in the past have been documented and carried forward to the present 3R and HSIP projects.
Q. What pedestrian/bicycle facilities are proposed?
A. The project is proposing a one-mile, multi-use pathway from Indian Road to Indian Creek on the north side of the Seward Highway. A trail undercrossing at Indian Creek Bridge will connect the proposed trail on the north side of the highway to the existing trail on the south side of the highway.
Q. Why is the pathway not being extended past Indian or to connect with the Windy Corner Project?
A: This project is coordinating with the Windy Corner project, but the scope of this project is to build a pathway connecting the communities of Indian and Bird Creek. The pathway has to have a logical terminus and if an extension was to be constructed it would be under a separate project.
Q. How will this project address the safety concerns of residents and travelers?
A: Adding left turn lanes at the Sawmill Road and Boretide Road intersections will reduce rear-end collisions by providing a left-turn pocket that is separate from the through lane. As a result, through traffic no longer needs to stop or slow down for left turning vehicles. The addition of the multi-use pathway will separate vehicles from pedestrians and bicyclists, providing for safer travel. Opportunities to consolidate and/or realign existing driveways will also be an important aspect of this project and its safety improvement.
Q. What will be the posted speed for the Seward Highway between MP 100 – 105?
A: Currently, the section of Seward Highway from Milepost 100 to Milepost 105 is posted at 55 mph. It is anticipated that the 55 mph speed limit will remain.
Q. Is the Frontage Road option, from Indian to Bird Creek, still one of the alternatives being considered?
A. This alternative is not being pursued during the currently proposed 3R and HSIP projects.
Q. Will improving the highway surface mean that higher speeds will be encouraged?
A: Improving the roadway surface will improve safety for all users of the highway. Improvements to highway facilities have typically translated to better traffic flow, but not necessarily higher speeds. The traffic safety corridor designation will remain.
Q. Why is the Indian Creek Bridge being replaced?
A: The existing bridge was constructed over thirty years ago and no longer meets current design standards for earthquake and vehicle loads.
Q. Why is the MP 99-100 project not combined with the MP 100 – 105 project?
A: The MP 99-100 project’s design, which is adjacent to this project and separated as a different phase, is complete and funding has been obtained with construction anticipated to begin in 2015. The MP 100–105 project will not be ready for construction until at least 2017. For more information on the MP 99-100 project, contact Sean Baski at email@example.com.
Q. How can I keep informed as the project progresses?
A: Sign up for emails and e-newsletter notifications. If you live in the project area, Potter Marsh to Portage, you will receive mailed notices and project information. This website also allows you to submit comments, obtain contact information for project team members, review documents, and check the latest news on the project, including the schedule and open house opportunities.