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Construction Report: McGrath Road project on track despite unexpected problems

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 5:08 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Unexpected ground damage has caused the McGrath Road project to have cost overruns. Work began on the project in the beginning of June and is scheduled to be finished by the end of this construction season.

Caitlin Frye is the Northern Region Information Officer with the Alaska DOT and said that the road was more degraded than expected. ”When we ripped the pavement up it turned out that that material under the road was in worse shape than we thought and there was a whole bunch of water in the material,” Frye said.

She said this year there was more snow than usual, and it melted very fast. This summer has also seen record levels of rainfall which further added to the water level. Frye said this has forced them to do extra work.

“What that means for our project is that we need to excavate a whole lot more material than we thought, and bring in good material to replace it. In addition to that, they are also adding some additional drainage structures that they didn’t originally anticipate that they would need,” Frye said, adding it was partially bad luck and partly just how construction projects go.

Even with the unexpected problems, the project is still on track to be finished by the end of the season. Frye did say “[It does] mean that the project is costing more money than we expected, but the good news is we are going to do a whole bunch of work to try to get that ground in as good as shape as possible to try to prevent some of these problems from being a bigger problem in the future.”

During the entirety of the road work, Frye said to expect flaggers and pilot cars.

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