FAIRBANKS — The state Department of Transportation has acquired property used by a half-dozen businesses that will allow widening of a busy Fairbanks street and is negotiating with one more.
Spokeswoman Meadow Bailey told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that widening of Third Street near the Gavora Mall on Fairbanks’ east side still depends on acquiring property used by a Holiday Station, which includes gasoline pumps and a convenience store.
The project, however, needs only the property occupied by the gas pumps and not the store.
“There’s not a determination yet on what to do,” Bailey said in an email.
Most businesses affected by the project have moved out. The widening is designed to relieve long traffic lines and aggressive driving maneuvers, Bailey said.
“It’s being done to ease congestion,” Bailey said. “There’s not enough capacity for all the vehicles that use that area.”
Construction is projected for 2016 but depends on property acquisition and utility relocation, Bailey said.
Anchorage-based Sicily’s Pizza was the latest business to move.
The restaurant closed its Third Street location six weeks ago. The building has plywood nailed over windows, and “no trespassing” signs announcing ownership by the state of Alaska.
The restaurant reopened Monday on Noble Street. Manager Labinot Thaqi said employees knew closure was on the horizon but DOT and the building owner closed a sale with little warning.
“It came so fast,” Thaqi said. “We didn’t know it was going to happen.”
The restaurant moved equipment into storage for a month as it renovated the building at its new location.
Other businesses left in 2011 or earlier. Award Makers, Alaska Monitoring & Drug Testing and Novus Auto Glass have reopened at new locations. A hair salon and a children’s clothes consignment store closed and apparently have not reopened.
A second phase of the congestion relief project will widen Third Street between the Steese Expressway and Hamilton Avenue. Negotiations for acquiring property have not begun, Bailey said.
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com