An Alaska Department of Transportation project to resurface and alter Egan Drive between 10th and Main streets would add “cycle tracks,” bikers-only paths that run alongside vehicle traffic on both sides, to a portion of the road.
DOT Engineering Manager Chuck Tripp presented the revised plans to the city Planning Commission at its Tuesday meeting. The original plan was to add a multiuse path along Egan Drive that would accommodate bikers and walkers, but public concern of “a potential for conflicts” caused the department to reconsider, Tripp said.
It decided instead to add raised cycle tracks parallel to Egan Drive between 10th and Whittier streets. Bike traffic would go with vehicle traffic, not against it. It’s a setup that has worked in many other cities, Tripp said during his presentation.
The plans also include reducing inbound and outbound vehicle lanes from two to one but improving traffic flow by adding dedicated turn lanes, as well as repairing the Merchants Wharf retaining wall. A full list of changes, not including the newly added cycle tracks, can be found online at dot.alaska.gov/sereg/projects/jnu_egan_resurface/assets/project_description.pdf.
A public meeting on the project was held in April, but the DOT is still accepting comment, Tripp said. The department originally estimated construction would begin in 2014, but Tripp said it now plans to put out a scoping letter within the next month, advertise for construction in winter of 2015 and begin construction in summer of 2015.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the Planning Commission approved in its consent agenda a $1.2 million Lemon Creek Road reconstruction project that would add a sidewalk and storm water drainage and reconstruct a bus turnaround. It also approved a state DOT request to rehabilitate stretches of Egan Drive and North Douglas Highway within the 330 foot required setback of eagles’ nests nearby. The items will go before the city Assembly.
• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (907)523-2294 . Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/katecmoritz.