Gastineau rebuild is a piece of work

Posted: Friday, July 12, 2002

A two-year city project to reconstruct one of downtown Juneau's older streets is on schedule with roughly four months of work remaining.

Work on Gastineau Avenue started last year and street closures have changed daily life for many residents. Contractor Arete Construction of Juneau has replaced underground water and sewer utilities and added a new storm water drainage system, according to city project manager Joe Castillo. Gastineau will be repaved from Second Street to the end, he said.

Construction restarted this spring after a break over the winter and should be finished in late October, Castillo said.

"The contractor is on schedule," he said. "They've completed the major retaining wall construction, the placement of new underground utilities. The utilities and stairways for the side streets are completed."

The project won't change on-street parking when finished. It will add a sidewalk on the downhill side of the road and an asphalt walkway to the uphill side, Castillo said.

The construction cost of the project, bid at $3.08 million, is now $3.4 million, Castillo said. The city began meeting with residents about the rebuild around three and half years ago.

Gastineau Avenue has been open to pedestrians during the work, but sections have been closed to vehicle traffic and parking during heavy construction. About 115 people live on Gastineau, and access is provided through the north end of the road only.

For Nancy Moyse, who lives in an apartment building at the south end of the street, the work has changed the pace of life. Because parking is restricted, a five-minute trip to return a video can turn into 20 minutes after a trip down and up the hillside, she said.

"Most people are working with it very well, but it has affected the flow and convenience of living up here," she said. "You have to organize your grocery shopping, your schedule."

Moyse said access to an emergency road off the south end of Gastineau would make things more convenient. But Castillo said the private road isn't open to the public for liability reasons.

Nancy Waterman, who has watched workers rebuild a retaining wall in front of her home this year, said the project will improve runoff from Mount Roberts above and stabilize the hillside below. She and her husband have had to coordinate use of their bicycles to correspond with construction and are keeping their canoe with a friend for easier access.

"They finished from Second (Street) to the Alaskan Hotel driveway last year and they also did some work at the south end of the street last year. They have the middle section to complete," she said. "There have been lots of inconveniences, but Arete has been very helpful, very considerate."

Residents have been given permits to park in the Marine Park Garage and the state lot at Second and Gold streets during construction, Castillo said.

"We knew the road would be closed and the on-street parking would be restricted," he said. "And we had wanted to provide an alternative parking location for residents."

Joanna Markell can be reached at

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