State transportation officials have announced a new project that could improve the commute from Eagle River to Anchorage.
According to Shannon McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the state department of transportation, construction starts this week on a
project to widen the Glenn Highway between Hiland Road and Artillery Road in Eagle River. The stretch of highway includes the infamous
“brakelight hill” and the Eagle River bridge.
“This project is exciting because it will build a whole new section of highway, extending the three lane section for an additional three miles. That will help the steep grade at Eagle River, which is known as brakelight hill. It will also actually build a whole new bridge over Eagle River. So there will be pretty minimal impacts to traffic this winter,” McCarthy says.
The existing bridge will handle highway traffic during construction of the expansion project. McCarthy says bridge work is better done in winter, because water levels are lower. McCarthy says tree clearing for the extra lanes will be the first step. The 42. 5 million dollar project is being paid for with state money.
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“This is all state money, which is why we were able to turn the project around in a just a little over a year. A lot of times federal aid projects take a little bit longer, sometimes you know, five to seven years. So this is exciting for DOT and I think you will be seeing more of this as money allows.”
The project is the first phase of a long range improvement plan to increase Glenn Highway traffic capacity. About 52 thousand vehicles use the Glenn Highway every day, and the stretch between Anchorage and the suburban community of Eagle River is often congested at peak commute hours. DOT officials say driver frustration contributes to vehicle crashes.
McCarthy says the highway improvement project should be finished by spring of next year.