City plans face-lift for Green Acre, Riverwood

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2002

The city plans to rebuild roads, add sidewalks and an underground storm drain system, and improve street lights in two Mendenhall Valley subdivisions over the next six years.

The Riverwood and Green Acres subdivisions, across Riverside Drive from Dimond Park, were developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s with an inadequate storm drainage system, city officials said. Over time more of the land was built on. There are 268 homes there now.

"All of a sudden we got storm water that wasn't flowing out and streets flooded," said Public Works Director Joe Buck.

Some culverts that pass under driveways and roads slope in the wrong direction and some have collapsed, said Mark Pusich, an engineer with the Juneau office of R&M Engineering, which studied drainage in the area and did the preliminary design of the intended improvements.

Water doesn't flow well through the roadside ditches because of accumulated silt and high spots in the ditches, which have shallow gradients to begin with, he added.

"It's dangerous for kids waiting for a school bus because they're (the streets) icy and full of water," said Alyce Houston, who lives on Parkwood Drive.

The intended project would repave Glacierwood Drive, Riverwood Drive, Parkwood Drive, Mountainwood Circle, Marsha Avenue and Jerry Drive, add an asphalt sidewalk on one side of the streets, and put in curbs, gutters and underground storm drain pipes.

The side opposite the sidewalks would drain storm water through a shallow vegetated ditch into underground pipes. Water in the area now drains through deep ditches the city said can be dangerous for motorists.

The planned improvements on Linda Avenue would be similar, but would get sidewalks on both sides of the road because the city envisions it as a collector street for pedestrians going to Riverbend Elementary School, Dimond Park and the proposed high school and recreation center at the park.

Two cul-de-sacs, Skywood Lane and Glacierwood Court, don't need sidewalks, but will get curbs and gutters, Pusich said.

Lighting improvements include putting in taller poles with bigger lamps at intersections, moving poles closer to the street and installing lamps that cast more of the light toward the ground, and adding poles in some dark spots, said Mark Morris of IHH Electrical, a subcontractor to R&M Engineering on the preliminary design.

The project is to be funded from city sales tax revenues that are reserved for street and storm drain improvements, Buck said. The first phase, funded at about $900,000, is to rebuild Marsha Avenue and Jerry Drive in summer 2003.

The tentative schedule is to work on Linda Avenue and Glacierwood Court in 2004, Glacierwood Drive and Skywood Lane in 2005, Riverwood Drive in 2006, and Mountainwood Circle and Parkwood Drive in 2007.

Neighborhood residents at a public meeting Thursday at Riverbend Elementary were concerned the phased project would take so long and would have to compete for funding each year against other city street work.

"Determining when or if a phase exists depends on where other projects are on the priority list," said Joe Castillo, the city project manager.

The project "is going to be great," resident Houston said. "It's just too bad it's going to take so long."

Residents can send comments on the project to the city Engineering Department at 155 S. Seward St., Juneau AK 99801.

Eric Fry can be reached at

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