Old Eagle River Road 'open for business' soon

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 19:00
Coronado Park taking offers; Eklutna Bridge in early design phase
Construction to fix drainage issues on Old Eagle River Road continues Monday, Oct. 14. The project is about 85 percent finished, said Mark Littlefield, Eagle River Street Maintenance general foreman.

With colder temperatures and impending snow comes the end of the construction season. Here’s a snapshot of what’s going on with the major projects in the Chugiak-Eagle River area:


Old Eagle River Road

One of a handful of roads bearing the name of Eagle River, Old Eagle River Road runs from Monte Road in downtown Eagle River (near First Baptist Church), behind the old firehouse, past Meadow Creek and terminates just beyond Foothill Avenue.

The road received state funding for improvement “because there was a serious drainage problem,” said Mark Littlefield, Eagle River Street Maintenance general foreman.

“It’s at about 85 percent completion,” Littlefield said. “We’ve got asphalt down, there will be some landscaping on the trail next year. But it should be open for business here in the next couple weeks.”

Formerly a state road, Old Eagle River Road will now be owned and maintained by the Municipality of Anchorage, Littlefield said. Improvements included replacement of the culvert at Meadow Creek and installation of a new storm drainage system, as well as the addition of bike lanes, a sidewalk running from Monte Road to Eagle River Elementary School, and new energy-efficient street lighting.


Coronado Park

Construction started early this spring on Coronado Park, a mixed townhouse and low-income senior housing complex off Coronado Road. The roughly 200-unit project, built by Cook Inlet Housing, stretches behind the Eagle River Shopping Center from its entry point off Coronado behind Chepo’s Mexican Restaurant.

The project includes a 56-unit senior housing complex on the side near Coronado Road. Seniors looking to get into the housing can call Cook Inlet Housing (793-3000) to get put on a list after Jan. 6, 2014, so they can receive notice of when the complex will begin taking applications.

Reservations are already being accepted on the for-sale townhouses, said marketing and sales manager Christina Ashton. There are one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units available, she said, with starting prices ranging from $205,900 to $279,900.

Ashton said she’s already received reservations on two units. Buyers have the option of getting a standard unit, or having their home interior customized to their specifications as it’s being built. Ashton said two completed three-bedroom townhouses should be available for purchase soon.

“Any day now,” she said. “We’re just finalizing the homeowners association.”

The entire project is slated to be finished in spring 2014.

For more information on purchasing a townhouse at Coronado Park, call Ashton at 562-1170. For more information on senior housing, call Cook Inlet Housing at 793-3000.


Eklutna Bridge

In May 2012, the Municipality closed Eklutna Bridge due to safety concerns. The bridge crosses Eklutna River on the Old Glenn Highway between Thunderbird Falls and Eklutna Lake Road. A meeting to gather public comment was held Sept. 12, and Littlefield said there will be more through the year.

“Everyone wants to know how soon it’s going to be open,” Littlefield said. “It’s a critical bridge.”

Construction on a new bridge is scheduled for spring 2015, Littlefield said, and “barring unforeseen circumstances,” Eklutna Bridge could be expected to reopen sometime later in 2015.

The Municipality hired engineering firm R&M Consultants to study bridge rehabilitation or replacement, and design development for the project is expected to continue through early summer of next year. Bidding and hiring for contractors is slated for summer 2014, according to a tentative timeline provided by Littlefield.

According to a preliminary report from the engineering firm, the lateral bracing system on the bridge (those are the support braces on each side that look like an upside-down version of the supports on a suspension bridge) are cracked, rusted, and in some cases, no longer connected where they’re supposed to be. Solutions could range from fixing the bracing system to replacement of the bridge, which has additional problems, including steel showing through the worn concrete on the bridge.


Reach the reporter at [email protected].

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