DOT Releases Bridge Studies

 A draft socioeconomic review and traffic forecast for the proposed Knik Arm Crossing project was released today [monday] by a trio of independent consulting firms. Cardno Consulting Services, Agnew -Beck and CDM Smith reported on separate forecasts for different aspects of the project.

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The findings were presented at joint meeting of two Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions [AMATS] committees in Anchorage.

 According to Bill Reed, with Cardno Consulting, the bridge, assuming it is built, is not expected to have a strong influence on job growth on the Anchorage side, and only minimal influence on the Mat – Su side

“There’s modest net new growth, that’s created by the bridge, but by and large, it’s much more of… it’s opened up kind of different locational options and business options for different industries. The weight of the evidence is there’s no major change to industry sector employment [in Anchorage] Mat Su Borough, with the bridge, for all years basically, employment is expected to grow but with the bridge, 59,500 jobe, 57,300 without the bridge. But overall, no major dramatic increases in employment.”

 Travel demand projections were based on validation of earlier studies and new updates, according to Hugh Miller, with CDM Smith.

Miller outlined three scenarios: no build, build/no toll, and build with toll, and the projected effect on traffic patterns through 2060. That data was used, in part to determine projected toll revenues.

“We use the models to see what happens with different toll rates. So we tried from a dollar to nine dollars. It behaves the way you would expect it to. As price goes up, traffic goes down. As the toll goes up, the revenue goes up, but at a decreasing rate. You can have too high a toll.”

Miller’s presentation showed six point eight million dollars in toll revenues for the year 2019.. that’s the first year the bridge would be in operation. The tolls would be five dollars each way for a passenger car, and would total about 167 point 7 million by 2045, according to the findings.The traffic and toll increases over the years would be based on growth at Point MacKenzie, closest to the Mat Su side of the bridge, since the only alternative for drivers from that area would be the Glenn Highway

The data presented at the meeting is on the state transportation department website. No action was taken at the informational meeting. The reports were funded by the state of Alaska.