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DOT selects “diverging diamond interchange” to upgrade Steese/Johansen intersection

 The project will force DOT to negotiate right-of-ways with property owners at every side of the intersection. (DOT)
The project will force DOT to negotiate right-of-ways with property owners at every side of the intersection. (DOT) (KTVF)
Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 6:48 PM AKST
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The Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) is moving forward with a project which aims to improve the intersection between the Steese and Johansen Expressways.

“Right now, today, the average delay for a vehicle coming up to that intersection is about 41 seconds,” says Lauren Little, Project Delivery Team Lead at DOT. “When we're done, the average delay will be about 14 seconds. So pretty significant savings.”

The intersection is currently controlled by traffic lights, but the improvements would see the removal of the lights on the Steese Expressway, where an overpass would be built instead. This is part of a “diverging diamond interchange”, which allows traffic to continue uninterrupted on the Steese Expressway. The Johansen and its corresponding Lazelle Road on the other side of the intersection will still be controlled by traffic lights.

The project will force DOT to negotiate rights-of-way with property owners at every side of the intersection. Particularly affected will be a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which may have to be moved due to the proximity of its current location to the project’s completed roads.

The DOT will be responsible for assuring that the church is fairly compensated if its projects affect its functions. “As part of our right of way acquisition process, not only do we have to pay fair market value for the land, we also have to pay a cost to cure,” says Little. “So in the event that, say the church needed to be relocated, part of the compensation to them would be whatever it took to make them whole and still be able to function."

Construction for the project is not expected to take place until 2025. DOT will be taking public comments on the project in the coming months.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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