The Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) is working to make major safety improvements to a busy section of the Seward Highway prone to crashes.

The Milepost 75-90 Rehabilitation Project will upgrade the road from Girdwood to beyond the Portage curve toward Turnagain Pass.

DOT spokesperson Shannon McCarthy said the project will cost up to $250 million. That price tag includes eight new bridges as well as five additional miles of passing lanes.

(Alaska Depart of Transportation)

“It’s important for us to do that and relieve congestion and allow people who are sightseeing to get off the road or people looking at the beautiful area, we want them to get safely off the highway,” McCarthy said.

DOT estimates about 7,000 vehicles travel that part of the Seward Highway daily. During the busy summer months, McCarthy said that number peaks at about 15,000 vehicles.

Construction crews will also add a turning lane near the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. That part of the road was the site of a tour bus crash in July 2015 in which one man died and multiple people were injured. The crash stopped all northbound and southbound traffic for several hours on a busy Friday.

McCarthy said there were more than 300 crashes in that 15-mile stretch of road from 2000 to 2010.

Work will be done in two, two-year phases beginning in 2018.

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