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Road work at Eielson’s South Gate to Create Delays for Motorists on Richardson Highway

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

Work began this week on a project to widen a stretch of the Richardson at the South Gate of Eielson Air Force Base. The project also will add turn lanes for the gate. The work will slow traffic through the area for the next two months.

Forty-five-miles-per-hour construction zone signs are up and work is under way around Eielson’s South Gate on a projectintended to make it easier for workers and equipment to get to their construction sites on base. But state Transportation Department spokeswoman Caitlin Frye says motorists should expect longer delays through the area within a couple of weeks.

“Most of the activity that is going to affect drivers is going to be early- to mid-August to about mid-September,” she said. “That’s when there will be periods when drivers can expect to see flaggers and pilot cars and a few more delays.”

Frye says Fairbanks-based Exclusive Paving is working on the nearly $1.4 million project that’s intended to ease access to sites on base where construction is under way on new facilities to accommodate two squadrons of new-generation F-35 fighters and personnel.

“After the project is done, drivers will see a new left-turn pocket heading in the southbound direction,” she said, “and there will also be a right-turn pocket heading north.”

Eielson officials say the south gate will be used only by contractors and other construction-related vehicles and equipment during the half-billion-dollar F-35 buildup. The officials expect the two squadrons will bring some 1,250 additional personnel to the base, beginning in 2020.

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.