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State DOT pulls funds for Auke Lake Wayside

Park has been in the works for more than a decade

Posted: October 2, 2013 - 12:08am
  Courtesy of Juneau Parks and Recreation
Courtesy of Juneau Parks and Recreation

A project 11 years in the making to build the Auke Lake Wayside would be nixed through a proposed amendment to the Alaska Department of Transportation’s Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, the list of state-funded projects.

The amendment, announced Thursday, would pull almost $1.4 million from the construction project, leaving the city unable to fund it, city Parks and Landscape Superintendent George Schaaf said at a Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meeting Tuesday.

Work on the project could have begun in three months, according to Schaaf’s presentation.

The Wayside would have alleviated traffic on Glacier Highway and improved safety at the site. The plan included paved parking for 26 cars and six trailers, giving Auke Lake Trail hikers a place to park other than along the busy highway.

It also would have built a path connecting the University of Alaska-Southeast and the Auke Lake Trail and installed permanent bathrooms, a picnic shelter and a fire ring.

Juneau has already spent almost $300,000 on the project, not including staff time, Schaaf said. Planning and design is already 65 percent complete. The DOT has sunk thousands of dollars into the project, too, Schaaf said.

“No reason was given” for the pulled funding, he said. The amendment responsible affects many projects across the state.

Schaaf has been working on the Wayside since he became employed with the city three years ago. PRAC Chairmain Jeff Wilson had “been working on this for six or seven years, forever,” Wilson said at the meeting. The city partnered with the DOT in 2011 to design the plans, and the update has been included on the STIP since then.

“It’s been slated for funding right up until last week,” Schaaf said.

 PRAC decided to send a letter to the state DOT requesting the funding be reinstated. Public comment is due to the DOT by Oct. 23; it will then make a final decision on the amendment.

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter @katecmoritz.

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