DOT hosts open house, talks summer road projects

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities held their annual ‘Super Open House’, Saturday April 20, 2019.

Inviting those in the community to get a sneak peek at the upcoming construction season on our Interior roadways and to answer any questions about all the projects that are going to impact your commute.

Caitlin Frye, Information Officer for D-O-T, says this is event always fun with heavy equipment for kids to run around on a free lunch donated by the public employees local 71.

“As everybody in this community knows we have two seasons we have winter and we have construction season, and no one escapes our construction seasons every summer.” Frye said. “It’s just a kind of all D-O-T family friendly community event.”

‘Super Open House’ is a great way to get the public informed about some of the upcoming projects for the 2019 year.

“We have a lot of safety projects out there to try and improve safety on our roadways, we have projects that improve mobility on our roadways to make it easier to get around town, and then also some of our projects are just out to save us money in the long term,” said Frye.

DOT has several projects they are working this upcoming season, including resurfacing the Mitchell Expressway.

“So it’s going to be the whole length of the Mitchell from the parks, kind of by the Geist exit, all the way to the Richardson Highway ramps,” said Frye. “There are going to be some closures involved in that mostly one way closures so while one side is going to be worked on the other direction of traffic will be open. But that will have a big impact on a lot of folks,” she added.

She said they are not upgrading it, and not making any big improvements on it, simply re-surfacing the whole road so that they don’t have to spend a lot of maintenance money in the coming years.

DOT also plans to add a two way left turn lane in the middle of Badger Road that will help with those turning out of the main line of traffic.

“There are going to be a big pile of cars all summer there so if you are on Badger Road that will have a big impact,” she said.

They also plan to place a round-about at Danby and Wembly Streets.

“Then we’ve got some residential projects, on Gillam way we are going to upgrade that so that it is more pedestrian friendly,” said Frye.

With all the construction on the roadway this year Frye had just a few words for motorists.

“You know when you are driving through a work zone it is so important to slow down. Make sure that you’re not looking at your phone or being distracted by anything else in your car and just pay attention,” she said. “The contractors and the flaggers and our people that are out there working in those work zones sometimes they are really close to traffic, and it does not feel good when you are right next to traffic and people are speeding by really fast.”

Asking people to be vigilant, slow down, and to take care of people in the community. Frye says it’s for your own safety and for the safety of the people that are working on the projects, so everyone can get home safely.