Construction Report: Increasing safety on the Richardson Highway
This summer, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is working to increase safety at two points of entry into the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and North Pole.
The Richardson Highway Access Improvement Project centers on Rozak Road and Midland Street and has caused a portion of the highway to be restructured into two lanes while each direction of the road is being worked on.
Caitlin Frye, Northern Region Information Officer with the DOT said, “Anybody who’s driven between Fairbanks and North Pole for the past few months has run into this project. It’s one of our biggest ones for the year.”
She announced that as of Monday, July 6th, both northbound lanes have been opened. This means that traffic heading from North Pole to Fairbanks will be able to enjoy two lanes on their journey.
Southbound travel continues to be confined to one lane, but Frye is hopeful that by the beginning of next week that will change. "We are hopeful that by the beginning of next week, the southbound lanes will be fully open,” she said.
“Anybody who’s driven between Fairbanks and North Pole for the past few months has run into this project. It’s one of our biggest ones for the year,” she said.
Frye explained that the goal of the project is to increase safety at the Rozak and Midland access points. “These two accesses are going to have acceleration and deceleration lanes and they’re going to have new lighting that’s going to improve safety getting on and off the highway and make it a much more comfortable experience accessing the Richardson Highway.”
Along with construction work done last year to pave the frontage roads, this project is designed to view the corridor between the two cities as a whole.
The two-lane Richardson Highway was originally built in 1966. Since then, vehicular traffic between North Pole and Fairbanks has grown to more than 14,000 cars a day in the summer. According to Frye, the frontage road and access points were constructed piecemeal in the intervening years, and “this is the first coordinated effort to get that whole system functioning more efficiently and more safely.”