The Latest on Key Anchorage
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
|Many of you have told me at Community Council meetings you want good transportation projects that solve congestion without tying-up our neighborhoods in knots.|
With the advent of fall, Anchorage Community Councils resume their monthly meetings, giving me another opportunity to hear the concerns of my neighbors. One of the big opening topics is the status of local road construction projects.
U-Med District Northern Access Project
Rogers Park Community Council members were concerned to learn that the DOWL HKM representative scheduled on the agenda had sent regrets and was unable to appear because she did not yet have written permission from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to talk with us about the U-Med Northern Access Project. As far as I am aware, this is a new requirement and I am in contact with DOT to confirm whether this is a genuine requirement, to learn more about what makes a project “sensitive” and whether permission has ever been denied. I will share what I learn in a future newsletter.
The U-Med Report is not finalized and will only soon be sent to DOT for review before the public comment period. My understanding is that historically state-transportation project contractors have freely attended community councils to describe projects and processes, giving residents a head’s up. This is important since it is easier to make changes early, than to wait and try to change them after plans are in place and publicized.
Highway to Highway Project (H2H)
A second big issue is the proposed H2H Project which would link the Seward and Glenn Highways via a non-stop freeway. DOT representative Rick Feller tells us there is no current public process because of budgetary issues and that “it is in a hiatus status”, adding that the project “can best be done in smaller chunks.” When we asked about the impact of doing the smaller pieces without looking at cumulative effects, he said they hoped to use information gathered through the H2H process -- but he was unclear about whether the various pieces would require EIS’s. My concern here is that by building the project in a piecemeal way, neighborhoods might be locked into bad location and design decisions without being able to influence an overall plan. We will continue to monitor this one.
Dowling Road Upgrade Phase I (between Old Seward and C Street)
This upgrade is going to bid in October with scheduled groundbreaking in spring 2012 and scheduled completion in September 2013. The project will include a new bridge over Campbell Creek which will allow for the Campbell Creek Bike Trail to run safely under the bridge at Dowling.
The Seward Highway Upgrade Project
The Seward Highway Upgrade Project, Dowling to Tudor, will also go to bid in October with groundbreaking in spring 2012 and scheduled completion in September 2013. We continue to confirm that sound barriers along the freeway are included in the plan, as well as the long-awaited connection of the Campbell Creek Bike Trail under the Seward Highway. This connection will give neighborhoods safe and easy access between east and west portions of the trail, opening up miles of trail to surrounding neighborhoods.
As you can see, there is a lot of activity going on in our part of the City. As I learn more, I will keep you posted on these and other projects – as well as on DOT’s public involvement requirements.
I'm Berta and I'm still listening,
P.S. We just learned the amount of this year’s Permanent Fund Dividend will be $1,174.