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3rd Street Widening Project Project No. MGL-M-067(1)/62541

Construction 2021 Update: 6.4.21

We will close 3rd Street to all vehicle traffic between the Old Steese Highway and the Steese Highway starting Sunday night, June 6.

  • Access to all businesses within the closure and west of the closure will be available via the Old Steese Highway. Access to all businesses east of the closure will be available via the Steese Highway.
  • Pedestrian access will remain open.
  • The closure is expected to last until mid-July, at which point we will open this section of 3rd Street to two-way traffic.

3rd Street map

We know closures like this are hard and we did not make the decision lightly. Here’s why we’re making this change. We need to store more potentially contaminated soil in this tight construction site than we initially planned for, which is slowing down construction to the point that we need to change something to ensure this portion of the project is complete this summer.

There used to be a dry cleaning business at the intersection of 40 Mile Avenue and 3rd Street, and we have since found dry cleaning solvents in the soil. We were aware of this during the design process. We have a plan to contain the contaminated soils. Part of that plan is to test any soils that we plan to move off-site so we can be sure to dispose of them properly. We have to store these materials on-site while the test results are pending, which can take up to two weeks.

We don’t have many places to store materials here and we are needing to store more than we expected. The materials are taking up so much space that it has been difficult to progress with work. Closing the road will give us the extra space needed to complete this segment of work more quickly.

But it’s not all bad news! We are going to get as much benefit out of this closure as we can in order to get these roads open to businesses and residents as soon as possible. More space means we can get two utility crews in the trenches working at the same time (as opposed to one crew at a time now). This doubles the amount of work we can get done and puts us back on track to finish 3rd Street work this summer. While we are waiting on test results that are slowing work between Old Steese and Steese, we will be working hard on the utilities between the Steese Highway and Eagle Avenue so we can open that section up more quickly to improve business access. We hope to open this section to two-way traffic in late June. We expect to be able to open 3rd Street between the Old Steese Highway and the Steese Highway in mid-July.

Project Background Information

The purpose of widening the 3rd Street and Steese Expressway intersection is to improve traffic flow and reduce the crash rate at the intersection, which is currently almost double that of the statewide average for similar intersections. The addition of the roundabout at 3rd Street and Eagle Avenue will help alleviate the long queues experienced during peak hours.

In addition to the work mentioned above, work on this project also includes:

  • Adding more through-lanes for traffic
  • Adding exclusive right- and left-turn lanes
  • Widening and improving sidewalks
  • Traffic signal upgrades

In the summer of 2021, we are reconstructed and widened 3rd Street between the Old Steese Highway and Hamilton Avenue, as well as the Steese Expressway from the Chena River Bridge to College Road. This included constructing additional left turning lanes from 3rd Street onto the expressway, and constructing a roundabout at the intersection of 3rd Street and Eagle Avenue.

In 2022, work on this project will continue with improvements along the Steese Expressway. Due to the deep utility work that must be completed across the expressway, we expect to close the Steese Highway for a two-week period during the 2022 season. The project is expected to be completed by July 2022.

This project is being constructed in cooperation with the Alaska Division Office of the Federal Highway Administration and is 90% federally funded with a 10% state match. The contractor for this project is HC Contractors, Inc. and the original contract amount is $12,084,286.