2023 DOT project plans for Interior Alaska

Department of Transportation to conduct over 24 projects over the season.
After 9 months of work, the Wickersham Hall Dormitory is reopening for the summer term at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Troth Yeddha campus.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 5:39 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) has over 24 projects planned for the 2023 interior construction season. Many of the project focus on improving highways.

Around the interior and further north, Alaska’s DOT Northern Region will be busy improving highways and continuing long-term projects around North Pole and Fairbanks. From the Parks Highway to the Alaska Highway to the Dalton Highway, DOT will be working on improvements such as widening roads and building overpasses.

The Richardson Highway will see more projects than most others as DOT works to build an overpass between milepost 360 and 359. The new construction will go over the train tracks near Lakeview Drive allowing drivers to avoid stopping at the tracks when the train passes. This summer, DOT will build a stretch of the overpass allowing for north bound traffic to drive over the train. While that part is being constructed, all traffic will be diverted to the south bound lanes splitting that stretch of road into a two way area. The south bound part of the overpass will be constructed next summer.

Other work on the Richardson Highway will include resurfacing projects between mile posts 35 and 65. There will also be a rehabilitation project between mileposts 128 and 138, plus a replacement of Bear Creek Bridge at milepost 233.

Other highways connecting Fairbanks to the rest of Alaska will see fewer projects. The Dalton Highway will see reconstruction efforts between mileposts 18 and 35. “The biggest part of that will be the replacement of the Hess Creek Bridge which will also include widening the bridge,” said John Perreault, an information officer with DOT’s Northern Region Office. That project will be completed in 2025.

The Elliot Highway is expected to see a rehabilitation project between mileposts 51 and 63 including work on the Tolovana River Bridge.

Headed towards Canada, the Alaska Highway will have 5 passing lanes added between mileposts 1289 and 1390. Finally, the Parks Highways is planned to have enhancements made near milepost 233.

Along the Parks Highway, other projects will also be carried out. At the intersection of Healy Spur Road and the Parks Highway, rehabilitation efforts will be made. That project is expected to be complete by October. After facing challenges, a comprise was finally made for the plans to improve and extend the Nenana Totchaket Road. The new plan for this project includes resurfacing and repairing the existing road while replacing the bridges that are currently in place. The road will also be extended by about 4 miles. This will bring the road to the end of the agricultural lands that the state has auctioned off. Previously the extension was planned to be about 19 miles.

Closer to Fairbanks, “the round abouts connecting the Steese Highway and Chena Hot Springs Road will see rehabilitation efforts. This will involve making improvements to traction,” said Perreault.

In North Pole, DOT will work to improve and add street lights in the “city core.” This project aims to standardize and improve driving visibility in the city.

Fairbanks will see a multitude of projects, some of which will mark the end of longer projects.

One such project includes the final improvements of University Avenue which began in 2018. This year, DOT will be improving the stretch of University Avenue near Rewak Drive. This will include a closure for part of the construction season. There will also be renovations made to Airport Way (west) in an effort to improve pedestrian accessibility. East College Road will see similar improvements with a focus on compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. In downtown Fairbanks, 5th Avenue will see improvements such as adding parking areas, widening the road and widening the sidewalks. Another project being carried over from last summer includes the continued work on the Steese Expressway Chena River Bridge. This summer the DOT will add finalized walk ways and replace signage.

Looking to improve the use of electric and hybrid vehicles in the area, DOT is looking to complete the construction of PM 2.5 plug ins. These plug ins will be found at various parking lots around the borough including Birch Hill Recreation Area, Chena Lake Recreation Area, and the UAF U-Park parking lot.

Finally, improvements will be made to the east runway of the Fairbanks International Airport. These improvements will mostly impact small bush plane operations and will not impact any of the large commercial operations which utilize the west runway.