Expect delays as work begins on Seward Highway realignment

File photo.
File photo.(ktuu)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:30 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A road project between miles 77.7 and 81 on the Seward Highway that got underway this week could add time to the drive between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula for years.

Shannon McCarthy with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said Phase Two of the Seward Highway Rehabilitation Project is expected to take three years to complete with crews working around the clock and through the winter. McCarthy said some exceptions will be made on summer weekends.

“This highway, its peak travel time is Friday, Saturday, Sunday,” McCarthy said. “So we are pulling off our crew on those times so that we can get traffic back and forth without delay. But you are going to see construction day and night on that, Monday through Thursday.”

The project, which began in the summer of 2018, is a big one: more than $200 million to add shoulders, turn lanes and other safety amenities to the road between Girdwood and the beginning of Turnagain Pass.

Phase Two also includes replacing five bridges. What drivers will notice now is crews doing repair work to the aging bridges. McCarthy said the bridges are in such poor shape, they need to be fixed just so cars can drive over them while the new bridges are being built.

“It’s just really rough on vehicles and it’s a really unpleasant drive, McCarthy said. “And it’s to the point where the pavement is beyond the end of its life. We have to make these repairs so we can keep traffic moving.”

During the month of June, crews will be filling in potholes and fixing the worst parts of the old road. Come July, McCarthy said, they’ll be turning their attention to the new section of highway as the realignment work begins.

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