The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), in cooperation with the Alaska Division of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has initiated preliminary engineering on a project to upgrade the intersection of the Steese Expressway and the Johansen Expressway located in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Thanks to all who attended our open house on December 6, 2018, took our online survey, and provided comments. A comment response summary from the 2018 open house is available here. We have completed environmental analysis for the three build alternatives: Tight Diamond Interchange, Diverging Diamond Interchange and Echelon Interchange. After detailed analysis the Diverging Diamond Interchange with Farmers Loop Connection was determined the preferred build alternative. We anticipate presenting the results of our analysis in March 2020 at a public open house, as well as following up directly with impacted businesses between February and March. A brief summary of the team’s decision making process is available here, with detailed information to follow in March.
The purpose of the Steese Expressway/Johansen Expressway Interchange is to enhance motorized and non-motorized mobility and user safety at the Steese Expressway and Johansen Expressway intersection and within the influence area of the intersection.
The Steese and Johansen Expressways are principal arterials in Fairbanks, AK, and the intersection is ranked in the top 10 for entering vehicle volume in Fairbanks. The Steese/Johansen intersection is a critical node for commercial traffic heading to the North Slope from Canada, Valdez, and Anchorage. The area surrounding the intersection has seen substantial commercial and residential development since the early 2000’s when the Bentley Trust area along the Johansen Expressway began to be developed. Traffic volumes on the Johansen increased by 27% with the opening of Walmart and Fred Meyer’s, and intersection volume increased by 45% between 2004 and 2007 when the area was rapidly developing. Following the initial spike in traffic, total intersection volumes have increased at an average rate of 1% per year (2007-2016). Residential development has been predominantly driven by military growth associated with the adjacent U.S. Army Garrison Fort Wainwright.
Engineering analysis and public scoping identified four primary operational and safety concerns:
Preliminary engineering and environmental analysis is nearly complete. A preferred build alternative has been identified and the team is preparing the environmental document. The public is invited to provide comment throughout project development through public open house meetings and web-based surveys. Construction is not anticipated before 2024.