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Steese Highway MP 3.8 Deep Culvert Replacement Project No. NFHWY00480/0670(044)

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), in cooperation with the Alaska Division of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is replacing a deep culvert under the Steese Highway, Birch Hill Road, and adjacent Pathway.

Photo: Sothwest View of Project Area.

Project Purpose & Need:

The purpose of this project is to maintain drainage to the west side of the Steese Highway and help prevent future damage to roadway surface of Steese Highway and Birch Hill Road at an important drainage culvert crossing. The current 36 inch x 210-ft. long culvert was installed in 1978 and has reached the end of its useful life. Road embankment is falling through broken culvert seams, and at least in part is causing distressed roadway surfaces in the vicinity of culvert crossing.

Installing new culverts and drainage structures will maintain and improve drainage needs and reduce maintenance needs for patching settled asphalt areas due to failing culvert conditions.

Project Scope

We are working to install new culverts, drainage structures and resurface distressed section of Birch Hill Road. Work on this project includes:

  • Install culvert under the Steese Hwy, Birch Hill Road and Pathway.
  • Install a second culvert across Birch Hill Road.
  • Install inlet to address drainage between Birch Hill Road and the Steese Highway.
  • Replace a section of guardrail and glare screen.
  • Decommission existing culvert by filling it in place to prevent further settlement.
  • Address erosion by installing ditch lining and riprap rock at culvert ends.
  • Repave a short section of Birch Hill Road and Pathway.

Trenchless technology construction methods will be used to install an approximately 207-ft. long new 36-inch culvert that is buried deep beneath the Steese Highway road surface. It is anticipated that a hydraulic hammer will be used to pound a smooth-walled steel culvert under 4 lanes of the Steese Highway, Birch Hill Road, and Pathway.

Using such methods will prevent traffic disruption and excavation challenges associated with deep fills on busy roads. This method also will save the department money and allow for quicker installation than conventional methods. Department will require contractors to limit construction to daytime 8am-7pm hours to minimize noise impacts to nearby residential areas and keeping public informed.

Project Development & Timeline

Our project staff is currently working on finalizing design and coordination with utility companies. Construction on this project is expected to begin in the summer of 2021.