Among a list of road projects that would receive funding if Gov. Sean Parnell’s capital budget proposal is approved, one of several items for Juneau stands out: “Egan Drive Illumination.”
A spokesman for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said Friday that if the state can provide the $4.2 million in funding that the governor’s budget would provide, Egan Drive — Juneau’s main thoroughfare and its only unbroken road link between downtown and the Mendenhall Valley — could be lit with streetlights from downtown all the way to the Juneau International Airport area by this fall.
“The whole goal of the project is to basically provide lighting on Egan where lighting currently does not exist,” Jeremy Woodrow said.
Parts of Egan Drive are already illuminated, such as the overpass section where the highway bends near Walmart. Woodrow said lighting in that area would be a model for the rest of the road.
“The point of this project is to basically light Egan so it’s well-lit throughout the entire section,” said Woodrow. “As far as safety goes, it’s pretty hard to beat.”
The DOT&PF does not have statistics on how many wrecks are caused by poor lighting, but Woodrow remarked, “Studies do show a well-lit roadway is safer than one that is not.”
Woodrow said the purview of the project is lighting from Norway Point, where the Juneau Yacht Club is located, out to the so-called “McNugget” intersection, where Egan Drive meets Glacier Highway near the airport.
DOT&PF staff are “fairly confident” that work will begin this summer, said Woodrow, provided money is allocated for the project.
“It’s most likely going to happen this summer,” Woodrow said. “It might bleed into the fall.”
The work would not entail major road construction, according to Woodrow, though he said crews might need to temporarily close lanes of traffic “here or there.”
“It shouldn’t provide too much of a disruption to the daily commute,” Woodrow predicted.
Construction costs for the project are estimated at $4.3 million, Woodrow said. Funding to make up the difference from the $4.2 million in Parnell’s budget could be reappropriated from the design phase of the project, he added.
The source of the $4.2 million in funding is the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program. Legislative approval is required before those funds can be used by the DOT&PF.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at email@example.com.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information.