Denali park to get traffic lights

Posted: Monday, October 14, 2002

FAIRBANKS - Two traffic lights are planned for the entrance area of Denali National Park.

The lights, to be installed within two years, will be the only traffic lights on the 320 mile stretch of the Parks Highway between Fairbanks and Wasilla.

The traffic lights are part of an extensive plan by the state Department of Transportation to make the park entrance area safer for pedestrians.

"There's been a couple of fairly serious accidents in the past there, there's some safety problems that this project will address," Department of Transportation design manager Tim Woster said. "Right now there aren't many places for people to walk out there without walking on the shoulder of the road."

The summer-only lights are part of extensive DOT plans to install a pedestrian and bicycle path running the entire two-mile length of the Denali commercial strip to the Park entrance and crossing two new pedestrian bridges along the way.

The work, which will mostly be funded by $9.5 million in federal highway funds, also will include improvements to a road wayside at the south end of the strip and changes to the road's turning lane configuration.

Woster said he expected the lights, which will be triggered by side-street traffic and by pedestrian buttons, to generally favor Parks motorists. "I think that we'll probably have predominantly green lights for the traffic," he said.

The signals will either be turned off or just flash yellow in the offseason. The entire project is expected to take two years to complete and will go out to bid within the next few weeks.

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