The summer season in Juneau means not only motorcycles and tour buses on the road, but safety cones and construction rigs as well.
Among the road projects being done in Juneau this year are the ongoing overhaul of Main Street, the final phase of a multi-year project; the construction of a roundabout in Auke Bay, which is set to replace the intersection of Glacier Highway and Mendenhall Loop Road in the neighborhood; and the illumination of Egan Drive, a project that aims to light up Juneau’s main highway in between the Aurora Harbor area and the Mendenhall Valley.
Main Street reconstruction project manager Skye Stekoll, with the City and Borough of Juneau Engineering Department, said the project is changing the downtown roadway to be more “pedestrian-friendly.”
“We’ve replaced all the utilities, underground utilities,” said Stekoll Tuesday. “The main purpose of the project, I guess above-ground, is to widen sidewalks. … The lanes are narrower to slow down the traffic speeds.”
Also part of the project is a canopy to cover part of the sidewalk in between 3rd and 4th streets, Stekoll said, as well as a revamp of the area surrounding the famous “Windfall Fisherman” metal sculpture of a bear and salmon, next to Dimond Courthouse Plaza.
“It hasn’t been maintained as well as it could have been over the years,” Stekoll said. “We’re going to be adding some granite pavers in there and some rock … making it slightly more urban, I guess, than it was originally.”
The substantial completion date for the Main Street project is Aug. 15, according to Stekoll. But he said the street is likely to at least partially reopen to traffic by late next week.
Another major project all the way across town has not yet broken ground.
The Auke Bay roundabout is a state project, unlike the work on Main Street, which is overseen by the CBJ.
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said Monday that work on the roundabout is likely to begin “probably mid- to late June.”
“The main focus of that is really the roundabout part that’s going in around DeHart’s, there, where the ‘Y’ intersection is,” said Woodrow, referring to the point at which Glacier Highway and Back Loop Road meet across from the well-known convenience store.
Woodrow said work on the roundabout is set to wrap up Oct. 31. He called the scheduled work period for the project “a fairly aggressive timeline.”
The Auke Bay roundabout is part of a larger project that is planned to be done in phases. The next phase of work will include reconstruction of the curve in the highway near Auke Lake. That work is not set to begin until next year.
While the replacement of the intersection in Auke Bay is certain to impact traffic through the neighborhood, Woodrow noted that most of it will be done at a time when students at the nearby Auke Bay Elementary School and University of Alaska Southeast campus will not have class.
“Any construction project, you’re going to see some delay in people coming through,” Woodrow acknowledged, adding, “We’re trying to keep it to a minimal amount of delay.”
A third major change that will impact Juneau residents is the lighting up of Egan Drive. That project was originally set to take place over the summer, but Woodrow said it has been tentatively rescheduled for fall.
“I guess it’s not really a summer project anymore,” Woodrow remarked.
Woodrow was hesitant to give firm dates for the Egan Drive illumination project, which is still months away from starting, but said it will likely begin in early fall and finish by late fall.
“I think the expectation is by the time we get to winter, we’ll have a lit-up Egan Drive,” said Woodrow.
The state budget passed by the Alaska State Legislature last month includes funding for Egan Drive illumination.
The project is set to add streetlamps along the highway from Norway Point, where the Juneau Yacht Club is located, to the so-called “McNugget” intersection, where Egan Drive meets Glacier Highway near Juneau International Airport.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at email@example.com.