Parks Highway improvements aim to improve road safety

Parks Highway improvements aims to drop safety corridor designation
Published: May. 18, 2021 at 7:21 PM AKDT|Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 8:22 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Construction to take the Parks Highway outside of Wasilla from two lanes to four is underway, with the goal to improve safety.

When the project is finished, the highway will be divided, there will be continuous lighting, frontage roads, turn lanes and three new traffic lights, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

Crews will be working on the road between Pitman and Big Lake Roads. It’s the third and final phase of a multi-year project.

The new traffic lights will be at the Meadow Lakes Loop, Johnsons Road and Big Lake Road intersections, said Todd Smith, Department of Transportation project engineer.

New traffic lights to be installed on Parks Highway
New traffic lights to be installed on Parks Highway(Colin Lamar / KTUU)

According to DOT, phases one and two were from Lucus to Pitman Roads, and the new construction area will look very similar.

“In an area that’s traditionally had a high number of crashes and a high number of severe crashes, getting this project constructed is monumental for the safety of the traveling public out here on the Parks Highway,” Smith said.

Before phase one started, Lucus Road through Big Lake Road was a safety corridor.

The phase one and two areas have now dropped that designation.

“Between Pittman and Big Lake, it’s still a safety corridor, but this project will work on eliminating that,” Smith said.

Work on the project started at the end of last summer and picked back up about three weeks ago, he said.

The contract is for about $40 million split between federal and state funds, according to Smith. Drivers can expect delays during construction season through October 2022, he said.

“We’ll be working six days a week minimum throughout the summer,” Smith said.

Crews will take off major holidays.

“Since we’re upgrading from a two lane to four lane, the future northbound lanes are able to be constructed outside of the current traveled way,” Smith said. “So, with the exception of just a couple of truck crossings, we’re not really impacting the public because we’re able to work outside of the existing road footprint.”

According to DOT Spokesperson Shannon McCarthy, there are plans for another project in the Wasilla area. The Parks Highway will be resurfaced from the Seward Meridian Parkway to Lucus Road. She expects that project will start in the next few months.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of DOT Spokesperson Shannon McCarthy’s name and Lucus Road.

Copyright 2021 KTUU. All rights reserved.