The Olympic Torch Relay will start its 10-mile tour through three parts of Juneau at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Juneau Airport. It will be the first time the Olympic flame has burned in Alaska.
There will be several key vantage points for residents to view the torch as it makes its way through the Mendenhall Valley, Lemon Creek area and downtown Juneau.
Times listed are estimates of when the torch will pass key spots and could vary by as much as 10 minutes. A caravan passing out pennants and other goodies from torch relay sponsor Coca-Cola will lead the main procession by about 20 minutes.
Maps of the Juneau course ran in the Juneau Empire's Olympic Torch Relay special section Jan. 16 and are posted on the torch relay link on the Juneau Empire's Web site, www.juneauempire.com.
Residents might have to wait through a few rolling traffic stops as the torch makes its way through town, but the only places where there will be full stops are in front of the airport at the start of the relay, on the uphill side of the Ninth Street hill downtown and near the Governor's Mansion. Recommended parking areas are at Dimond Park, Brotherhood Bridge, Western Auto, Twin Lakes and the downtown subport.
The first part of the course will run through the Mendenhall Valley. The torch is expected to pass Glacier Valley Elementary School about 9 a.m., Riverbend School about 9:10 a.m. and end the segment at the Brotherhood Bridge parking lot about 9:25 a.m.
The second part of the course starts at sponsor Capital Chevrolet in Lemon Creek about 9:30 a.m. The torch will pass by the Juneau Pioneers' Home about 9:40 a.m. and end at the Salmon Creek Medical Center near Twin Lakes at 9:55 a.m.
The third segment starts at the Glacier Highway entrance off Egan Drive about 10 a.m. and will head toward downtown Juneau. The torch will pass by the Breakwater Inn and Juneau-Douglas High School about 10:10 a.m., the Governor's Mansion about 10:20 a.m. and will reach the Goldbelt Dock about 10:30 a.m.
From the Goldbelt Dock, the torch will be carried across Juneau Harbor by Ethel Lund in a Tlingit canoe paddled by nine members of the Tlingit Warriors canoe team and two members of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium canoe team. The Tlingit dance group Yun Shu Ka will sing an exit song as the canoe takes off, then will be bussed to the Intermediate Vessel Float Dock near Taku Smokeries to sing an entrance song as the canoe comes back to shore about 10:40-10:45 a.m. The public will not be allowed on the Goldbelt Dock for safety reasons and the best views of the canoe segment are along the city dock and behind the Hangar on the Wharf.
The torch will then be carried through downtown, passing the Capitol about 11 a.m. and entering Centennial Hall for the citywide celebration about 11:10 a.m. Doors will open at about 10 a.m. and the celebration will last until noon.
Viewers are encouraged to carpool to reduce parking problems, especially since snow is predicted. The city will tow illegally parked cars and drivers should not park on relay route streets or roadsides.