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Transportation officials to unveil project to improve highway safety in North Pole

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

State transportation officials will unveil their plans tonight on a project that’s designed to improve safety and the flow of traffic on a stretch of the Richardson Highway through North Pole.Anyone who’s driven along the Richardson Highway through North Pole knows how congested it can get, especially around morning and afternoon rush hours.

State and local government officials have for years been trying to improve safety and where possible the flow of traffic through that area.
Another project is planned for the summer of 2016, and state transportation officials want to talk about that in a meeting that begins at 5 this evening at McPeak’s Badger Store, on Badger Road just off the Old Rich.
“This project is a 3-mile corridor that begins on the North Pole side of the Badger (Road) exit at Six Mile, and runs to about one mile beyond where the Old Richardson Highway ties back in.”
That’s Sarah Schacher, the state Transportation and Public Facilities’ engineering manager for the project. Schacher will be at tonight’s open house to explain the proposal, which mainly involves improving two intersections, at Midland Street and Rozak Road.
The project calls for limiting access at intersections with two other side roads, at Davison Street and Lu Anne Road, and diverting that traffic onto frontage roads and larger intersections, to reduce the chances of collisions.
“You just have a high density of intersections in the corridor,” Schacher said, “So we want to consolidate them for obvious safety reasons, but also to maintain efficient flow on the Richardson Highway itself, so that the through traffic is not having to dodge all these people coming on and off sporadic intersections.”
Schacher says the volume of traffic along that stretch of the Richardson isn’t high enough to justify construction of much-more expensive interchange overpasses. She says proposed $17 million project does include improvements to the frontage roads and street-lighting.
The transportation department wants public comments on the project by Dec. 14th.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.