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Transportation fair offers a chance to weigh in on road construction projects

By Eric Ruble 7:17 PM February 14, 2017

If you have complaints about an ongoing or planned road construction project, Wednesday is a good opportunity to voice your concerns.

The Municipality of Anchorage and Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) will host a transportation fair alongside a number of other agencies. Attendees will be able to visit dozens of booths, many of which are dedicated to a specific road construction project.

There will be people involved in both state and municipality projects available to help fairgoers learn about the projects and listen to their feedback.

“We try to have knowledgeable project team people at the event so that when the public comes with questions, they can get their questions answered,” said Anne Brooks, who is helping organize the event and is a representative of Brooks and Associates, which provides “a variety of technical support to architectural and engineering firms doing business in Alaska,” according to its website.

One booth at the fair will have information about the Jewel Lake Road expansion project, which is slated to begin in the summer of 2018. The Alaska DOT is in charge of the project, which begins at the intersection of Jewel Lake Road and 88th Avenue and runs north until Strawberry Street. According to the project’s website, it will improve an existing pathway on the west side of the road and add a new sidewalk to the east side. It will also widen the road to meet requirements for bike lanes and improve lighting, among other things.

There are several businesses located at the corner of 88th Ave. and Jewel Lake Rd. Kerry Teekell owns Jewel Lake Bowl and Java the Hut coffee shack. He said the construction will likely hurt his bottom line.

“Traffic — as everybody knows — is really going to affect this business,” he said. “You’ve got 20 minutes to get to work and grab a latte. Not going to happen when the construction is going on.”

However, he said the project would ultimately good for businesses like his.

“Jewel Lake has been the same way since I was a kid. It’s a beautiful place, but it needs a little expansion,” Teekell said of the future project. “It’s gotten a lot bigger, and I think it’s going to beautify the area.”

The fair will feature much more than road construction projects. There will also be representatives from the Anchorage Parks and Recreation department to speak about plans for the trail system. Moreover, People Mover employees will be available to talk about potential future bus routes.

“In one evening, they can really get a big picture about what’s happening with all things related to transportation within the municipality,” Brooks explained.

The transportation fair runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Alaska Airlines Center.

KTVA 11’s Eric Ruble can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

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