Construction Report: Chena Hot Springs Road upgrades begin

The NewsCenter 11 Evening Team offers a report on the latest news of the day, as well as updates on sports, Fairbanks area weather and current traffic issues.
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 5:38 PM AKDT
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Upgrades to Chena Hot Springs Road have begun and will continue into next year. The multi-year improvement project aims to improve safety and reduce speeds at the Steese Highway intersection and resurface the first six miles of the road.

Crews have begun construction of two roundabouts on Chena Hot Springs Road. “The reason that we are building these roundabouts is to improve safety at this intersection. This intersection has a higher rate of crashes than most intersections like it in the Fairbanks area and in the Northern Region,” said Caitlin Frye, an information officer for the Alaska DOT.

She said the biggest danger with the intersection is speeding drivers. The roundabouts will slow down drivers while simultaneously improving traffic flow she said.

The construction may cause delays but Frye does not expect there to be closures as a result of the upgrades. “Drivers can be prepared for flaggers, there is going to be lots of lane shifts, but for the most part everything is going to stay open,” Frye said.

Construction this year will continue into late October. The project will also do some road work between the Steese Highway and the Old Steese Highway on Chena Hot Springs Road. Crews will also be installing a bypass for drivers heading from Fairbanks east onto Chena Hot Springs Road so that they don’t have to go through the roundabout.

The roundabout will also feature an oversize load bypass for trucks heading up the haul road. This bypass will be secured by gates that prevent general traffic from accessing the bypass.

Next year DOT will begin work rebuilding the first part of Chena Hot Springs Road. “Next year we are going to be reconstructing the first six miles of Chena Hot Springs Road. So that’s all the way from the Steese Highway out to Nordal,” Frye said.

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