Construction Report: What drivers can expect around the Interior’s highways this summer
It is expected that this summer will consist mostly of Alaskans visiting Alaska, since COVID-19 has quashed most hopes of significant numbers of tourists coming in from out of town.
This week, our Construction Report tells drivers what they can expect as they make their way in and out of the Alaskan interior.
“We have three projects that are south of Delta Junction,” says Caitlin Frye, Information Officer with the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT).
Drivers will find these projects between miles 159-167, 51-65, and 18-24. “Each of these three projects is going to be repaving, replacing culverts and just making some general improvements that are going to reduce maintenance costs and improve the driving surface down there,” Frye says.
This means that drivers between Fairbanks and Valdez will experience pilot cars, flaggers, lower speed limits, and general delays. “Definitely be prepared for some delays in several different areas along that drive,” Frye says.
Between miles 38-50, drivers can currently expect a reduced speed limit of 45mph. Later in the summer, however, drivers should expect delays in that area.
According to the DOT, there are two major projects on the Parks Highway between Cantwell and Talkeetna. Both of these involve constructing more passing lanes on the Parks.
“We think that’s going to improve mobility and safety along that corridor in the long run,” Frye says. However, she adds that this means drivers should expect delays.
Drivers heading to Anchorage on the Parks should expect heavy construction and delays as well.
“There’s going to be detours around road closures, reduced lanes, reduced speed and a lot of delay depending on what time of day you’re going,” Frye says. She says that the major project in that area is the Glenn Highway Capacity Improvement Project. “This is one of those that’s going to cause a lot of delays in the short term but it’s a really big project and will have major long term benefits for another super crowded corridor and it will improve traffic in that area in the long run.”
“The best place to look for updated construction impacts, and traffic impacts and construction details is AlaskaNavigator.org,” Frye says. Drivers can also check 511 for more information.
“Plan for delays before you travel,” Frye adds as a final note about driving long distances around the state. “If you’re driving down to Anchorage and the last time you drove down there it was bare pavement and no construction, it
take you longer this time.”