Bridge widening project moves forward

Traffic improvements expected to free up Glenn Highway congestion


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About 15 people gathered at Town Hall Center on Feb. 13 for the Eagle River Community Council meeting.

Paul Witt with HDR Inc. and Brian Schumacher of Department of Transportation gave an update on the Glenn Highway Capacity Improvement Project.

According to Witt, the draft permits have been obtained and construction could begin as early as this summer.

The project is slated to last three years.

No traffic disruption is expected until the final year.

The project centers on improvements of the Glenn Highway southbound and northbound lanes including the thorny traffic congestion around Artillery and Hiland road interchanges.

Approximately 50,000 vehicles travel the highway each day.

Traffic, which typically gridlocks around peak hours, often slows to a crawl during winter months.

An extra northbound lane will be added to portions of the highway to alleviate this problem.

A southbound lane may be added in the future depending upon funding, Witt said.

The Eagle River Bridge will also be replaced.

The project initially proposed widening the bridge.

Since bringing the existing bridge up to code would cost about 80 percent of a new bridge, it was decided to replace it instead, Witt said.

The existing bridge will remain in place and become part of a multi-directional frontage road extending out to Hiland Road.

The southbound bridge will become a one-way frontage road.

The project will also minimize the sharp grade often called “brake light hill” leading toward the northbound Eagle River exit.

To date, $35 million has been allocated to the project through a 2012 voter approved transportation package.

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