Drivers along the Seward Highway may see big changes soon. Starting at the end of March, Homer Drive and Brayton Drive, the highway frontage roads between Dimond and Dowling, will be closed to regular traffic.
Alaska Department of Transportation spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy said it’s part of the latest phase of highway improvements that’s expected to last for the next two years.
McCarthy said widening the highway to six lanes between Dowling and Dimond will mean traffic must be shifted to the frontage roads.
As a result, most businesses on the frontage road won’t be able to use their front entrances. Customers will have to access those business from a new frontage road in the rear. Tim Gravel, who owns the Kaladi Brothers on Brayton drive said, that doesn’t seem fair.
“I can do my share,” said Gravel. “There’s a project, it’s going to hurt a little bit, that’s fine, I have no problem with that. I have a problem when they say your driveway is going to be closed for two years.”
Gravel is sure he’ll lose money over the course of two years. He said customers who have to wind through a neighborhood to find the back entrance to his business are likely to find it challenging. But McCarthy with the DOT said the agency is putting the project on the fast track to try and finish it as soon as possible.
“This project is big enough that it could be a three year project,” said McCarthy. “But we’ve really accelerated the schedule because we want to impact the public as least as we can and make this project go as quickly as we can.”
Contractors started work on the $50 million project this week with no plans to stop. McCarthy said contractors will be working double shifts around the clock until it’s finished. More information on this latest phase of highway improvements is available at http://sewardhighway.info/d2d/documents/D2D%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf .