New route is considered more direct and safer
ANCHORAGE – It’s one of the municipality’s fastest growing areas and soon there will be a new way to reach it. On Thursday the state announced its choice for a new road through Anchorage’s U-Med District.
The selected route starts at Northern Lights Boulevard and Bragaw Street, runs through the UAA Greenbelt and pops out at 36th Avenue and Elmore Road.
The University Area Community Councils objected, saying the route divides one of the last large green areas in Anchorage. State Department of Transportation engineer Jim Amundsen, however, said the road doesn’t go through parkland, it belongs to UAA.
“It is being used for recreation with the permission of UAA, but it most definitely is not park land,” Amundsen said. “It is in fact, UAA property and it is property that the University of Alaska expects to develop as it moves into the future.”
Amundsen said the two-lane road will include bike lanes, sidewalks and a walking path. He said it will be designed to accommodate people as well as cars.
The road is already funded with a $22 million grant from the State Legislature, but the project is expected to come in slightly under budget.
And there will be challenges with construction, including the fact that much of the property is considered wetlands that will require special permits from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Amundsen said if all goes well, construction will begin in a year.
And while the route is definite, there is still plenty of opportunity to weigh-in on what the road will look like. An open house will be held at East High School on Tuesday, Feb. 18, from 6 to 8 p.m.