Feds to fund street paving

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010

The paving of several valley roads and other dust control measures was approved Wednesday by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

As part of a $2 million addition to the state's Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, which guides transportation funding, a half-dozen remaining unpaved roads will be able to be paved, state officials said.

Other improvements will be made as well.

Juneau's Mendenhall Valley is one of two areas in the state which have struggled to meet minimum air quality requirements, but state officials have praised the sometimes locally unpopular steps the city has taken to keep air healthy.

Among the two big steps Juneau has taken were to reduce wood smoke emissions, including occasionally banning use of wood stoves on poor air days and paving the valley's network of gravel roads.

Those measures have largely got Juneau under federal air quality minimums, and avoided expensive consequences, but occasional problems remain. Paving additional remaining streets may help with that, and the $2 million effort will be funded by the federal Congestion Management and Air Quality Program.

In addition to paving half a dozen valley streets, the newly funded project may also fund paving of the Dimond Park parking lot, and possibly additional streets as well.

The funds will also be used to purchase a street sweeper to clean valley streets of sand and dirt, which state officials say will help control airborne particulate as well.

• Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or patrick.forgey@juneauempire.com.

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