In about four years, the state Department of Transportation plans to tear up and rebuild Ketchikan’s primary downtown corridor.
The road project will start at the tunnel, lead through Front, Mill and Stedman streets, and end at the Deermount intersection. Some of the officials in charge led a public meeting this week to introduce the project to Ketchikan residents.
Tim Grier of Anchorage-based R&M Consultants is the project manager. He said the preliminary work is just getting started.
“Our plan is to get through that effort this year, in 2013, and then we would negotiate the next phase of the project, which would be design,” he said. “The design would take a couple years to complete, at which point we would put it out for construction.”
The team will consider previous studies, in hopes of improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety. They also will consider the historic nature of downtown, and they plan to visit Ketchikan during summer to get an idea of the area during peak congestion.
Public involvement coordinator Anne Brooks encourages residents to comment. An initial comment deadline of March 6 is suggested, but there will be other opportunities.
“We’ll have a number of meetings like this, so you’ll see the progress of the design and the
work as it goes along,” she said. “We will be creating a project website, so if you link on it today, you’ll get the flyer that was distributed in the community for the meeting, but we’ll have some more information and the ability to comment on the project and send us emails and messages as you observe things that need to be mitigated, need to be changed that could happen with this project.”
Brooks added that construction will be timed to avoid the summer tourist season.
In addition to rebuilding the road, the project will include storm drainage work, improved pedestrian crossings and wider sidewalks. DOT is talking with the City of Ketchikan about adding utility upgrades, too, and Grier says the design team will consider adding traffic signals.
Local consultant Stephen Reeve, who also is executive director of Historic Ketchikan, is working with the DOT team.
The downtown road reconstruction project was on the City of Ketchikan’s 2011 list of State Transportation Improvement Plan projects. It was one of three that the state accepted into the 2012-2015 STIP.
For more information about the project, go to http://www.brooks-alaska.com/ketchikan/