The state's $27 million upgrade at the Sunny Point intersection will create the city's first underpass and make it quicker to drive downtown from the Fred Meyer area.
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The upgrade is expected to reduce traffic in Lemon Creek on Glacier Highway because drivers will be able to turn onto Egan Drive toward downtown, instead of being routed through Lemon Creek from the Fred Meyer area.
The project is slated to get under way in March, the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities announced this week.
Secon of Juneau, was awarded the contract on Nov. 30.
In some places Egan Drive will be raised 26 feet. New bridges will provide underpass access between Egan Drive and West Lemon Creek, and between the Sunny Point neighborhood and Glacier Highway, the department said in a press release.
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Officials said the project was designed to avoid permanent damage to the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge and would include a new access location for refuge users.
The contractor will replace and upgrade culverts to improve stream flow and fish passage. It also will build a noise barrier for the Sunny Point neighborhood.
The project is expected to be completed by May 15, 2008. Department officials say, however, that a significant portion of the work should be finished earlier - by Oct. 31, 2008.
Work is expected to begin with erosion control measures and preparations for traffic detours. This will include a speed reduction from 55 to 45 mph.
Portions of the median will be paved for detours. The public will be kept informed of weekly construction activities by advertisements in local media.
The project is jointly funded by the state and the Federal Highway Administration.
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