Road Projects continue Downtown, Business Owners voice their displeasure

FAIRBANKS, Ak -- It is still early in the summer construction season for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and work continues throughout the Interior on numerous road and infrastructure projects.

Two such projects in the downtown Fairbanks core area are the most visual and frustrating for area businesses.

The Illinois Street Reconstruction project and the project on the intersections of Barnette Street and first and second avenue have many businesses questioning the planning of these large scale operations.

A collection of business owners attended yesterday's FMATS meeting to voice their displeasure in the scale of the projects and the financial set–backs they are seeing in business.

DOT Public Information Officer Meadow Bailey explains the Illinois Street Project is ahead of schedule and every phase of reconstruction has convenient access of neighboring businesses in mind, but it is a large undertaking as the project is not just about realignment of the road.

"It's not just a go in, realign and put in new storm drains," says Bailey.  "It's storm drains and going in and replacing all of the utilities, which includes water lines, sewer, GVEA and burying all of their power cables, telecommunications with every company that owns telecommunication lines.  There's nineteen sub–contractors on that project with one main contractor, so it is a really extensive project, it's not just a simple go in and repave."

Bailey says the Barnette Street and First and Second Avenue project is purely a utilities upgrade and is only scheduled as a 4 to 6 week project.

This Fall, Illinois Street will be leveled, paved and striped before work can resume next Spring.