Planning Commission OKs plans to ease traffic problems near Costco

Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2000

First came Costco, now the traffic light.

The Juneau Planning Commission on Tuesday night approved a state plan for a traffic light and additional turn lanes at the Anka Street and Glacier Highway intersection near the wholesale store.

State engineer Pat Kemp said traffic volume increased with the development of upper Lemon Creek valley and the trend is expected to continue as the population grows. He said on average 13,000 cars drove through the area every day in 1999, and the number is expected to jump to 18,000 by 2020.

"It's just to the point where it meets the specific warrants for a signal, and we thought it was a good idea," said Kemp, of the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The completed project will include left and right turn lanes from Anka onto Glacier Highway, and a new turn lane for inbound drivers turning left from Glacier onto Anka, Kemp said. The state also will "realign" the streets to create a four-way intersection, extending Anka Street to the other side of Glacier Highway, giving drivers access to the PTI Communications building.

The state expects to break ground in summer and complete the $900,000 project by August. The project will include additional street lights at the intersection, a crosswalk and improvements to nearby bus stops.

The planning commission on Tuesday also decided to withhold approval of a city project to expand the Douglas Harbor pending a more in-depth review.

The panel requested more information on a plan to fill a 2.5-acre tidal area for expanded parking and a new launch ramp at the harbor. The city Harbors Department is negotiating with five Douglas landowners on Front Street to buy the tidelands to fill. The fill would abut the private property on Front Street, and the commission is concerned it could cause drainage problems under the landowners' buildings, said Johan Dybdahl, commission chairman.

"The fill possibly would cause ponding, so the drainage matter had to be addressed. (The Harbors Department) did address it to some extent, but it wasn't clear it was totally addressed," Dybdahl said.

The commission plans to review the project again Jan. 9.

Voters in 1998 approved the $3 million harbor expansion, which will include additional moorage space. Harbormaster Joe Graham said he does not expect the delay to affect the construction phase, scheduled to start in June.

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