ER Road project is underway

State says $16.9 million upgrade efforts will take 2 years


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A car drives down Eagle River Road, which is in the early stages of a $16.9 million overhaul, on May 22. The Alaska Department of Transportation is asking for caution and patience from area residents during the construction.

MATT TUNSETH

Work is underway on a $16.9 million state project to improve Eagle River Road.

Alaska Department of Transportation project manager Steve Frey said the initial tree-cutting phase caused some consternation among residents in neighborhoods along the road.

“That’s usually a big source of contention,” he said.

Frey said DOT only took as many trees as were needed to complete the project.

“We try not to take any more trees than we can,” he said.

Anyone who has a concern or wants more information about the project can find information online at www.eagleriverroad.com or at www.alaskanavigator.org, where DOT posts weekly status updates about ongoing road construction.

“That usually alleviates a lot of the problems,” he said.

Frey said the road needs a major overhaul. Water coming off the steep slopes of the Eagle River Valley gets underneath the road, he said, making for massive frost heaves in winter. Culverts should solve that problem, he said.

“We’re going to go in and try to get the water where it needs to go,” he said.

The road is also very narrow.

“It will actually have a shoulder,” when work is complete, he said.

The project received state funding during the 2012 legislative session. Work began earlier this spring on the 7.3-mile stretch of road under repair, which includes Eagle River Road from mile 5.3 (Louinda Circle) to its end at mile 12.6.

Construction on the project is expected to take two years. Frey said that during that time, area residents can expect to see flaggers or pilot cars —but likely no closures.

“Right now our plan is we’ll never shut down the road,” he said.

Although the ongoing construction could mean delays for residents of the Eagle River Valley, Frey said the twisting, heaving roller coaster of a road will be largely tamed once construction is done.

“It’s going to be really nice,” he said.

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