Q: Why is this project needed?
The Dalton Highway is a critical transportation link in Alaska because it provides access to a substantial portion of its land and resources. The stretch between Milepost 0 and 9 has some of the most severe hills and curves on the highway's entire 414 mile length. In order to improve the safety and service of this section of the road, a significant realignment is proposed to avoid the challenging terrain that the existing alignment follows.
Q: Why is there a new alignment proposed instead of fixing the existing road?
The topography surrounding the first 6 miles of the Dalton Highway makes it nearly impossible to correct some of the geometric issues that need to be addressed. The new alignment would have minimal traffic impacts during construction and will provide substantial safety and efficiency improvements for all users in the long term.
Q: How much will the project cost to construct and who will provide funding?
The proposed funding source is the Federal Highway Administration. While our design is very preliminary, it is estimated that the cost of construction will be between 40 and 50 million dollars. This estimate will be refined as the design progresses.
Q: Will the project impact the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS)?
The proposed route should not impact the pipeline and will actually eliminate an active road crossing of the TAPS that exists on the current alignment. We will be in close coordination with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company as the design progresses to ensure their needs are addressed.
Q: Will the construction activities impact truck and tourist traffic to the North Slope?
One of the advantages of the proposed concept is that most of the construction can be performed with little to no impact on the current roadway, which means traffic will be relatively uninterrupted while the new alignment is constructed. Some work will need to be done to tie the new roadway in to the existing one near the area of 9 Mile Hill, but that work can be coordinated to minimize impact to traffic.
Q: What will happen to the old part of the highway once the new alignment is built?
It is anticipated that there will still be access to portions of the old road; these areas have been coordinated with Alyeska to ensure they have sufficient road access to the pipeline. In addition, we have coordinated public land access needs with Alaska DNR. It is not expected the old road will be passable in its entirety due to the removal of existing culverts.
Q: Will the new road be paved?
We are not anticipating asphalt pavement to be applied with this project, which is consistent with other recent Dalton Highway improvements in its first 20 miles. Even with efforts to avoid or mitigate permafrost impacts to the reconstructed road, it is expected that some settlement will occur within the first few years of service and an aggregate surface course will be easier to maintain if that happens.
Q: Will any private land be needed for the new highway right of way?
Our preliminary title research indicates the new alignment will be on state owned land and no private land acquisition is anticipated.
Q: How can I stay informed as this project moves forward?
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