Saturday, March 24, 2012

Anchorage Highway to Highway Project Delayed

If you have followed the news lately, you might have heard a slew of reports about how the dubious Knik Arm Crossing is being fast tracked by the State and the Anchorage Transportation committee to be on the short list -- meaning top priority --  for which money may very well be gobbled up by the bridge at the expense of more pressing transportation needs for the city in the next couple of decades. Among the projects moved to the back burner is the Highway 2 Highway (H2H) project which would have connected the Seward and Glenn Highways together making for a seamless glide through the city while at the same time restoring the neighborhood of Fairview back to its former glory before two sets of 4 lane roads with heavy traffic tore their selves through the 'hood some 35 years ago. From what I've observed, the project was a bit controversial when it was first brought up, perhaps because it gave some residents a sense of déjà vu of a time in the 1950s and 60s when planners across the country promised that large concrete highways tearing through neighborhoods and old downtown's would be the solution to all of the city's problems. But I've long thought this project in particular was different. If anything, this H2H project would reflect the changes other cities across America have done to their urban highways in the last 20 years or so which is to either dismantle them altogether, or bury them underground. H2H proposes the latter, which is to build the highway on sort of a ditch, or depressed ground, and then "cover" the highway with new real estate that would be used for either parkland or buildings (mixed-use ones too!). Anyways the Anchorage Press did an article this week on the predicament and what solutions may be possible to get the project started sooner. A snippet from the article:

"The project had been listed as a “top priority to contain Anchorage congestion” under the city’s current transportation plan. But in the Metropolitan Transportation Plan 2035, set to be adopted by the Anchorage Assembly in late April, the connecting corridor has turned from shortlist mega project to dream deferred. Now in the long-term list of transportation projects, it’s tentatively slated to begin anywhere from 2024 to 2045".

BTW I'll be back with another post looking at some of the urban highways across America that have either been already dismantled and buried, or are waiting on death row.

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