Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Seward Highway reconstruction begins

The good news: the Seward Highway will be elevated just enough for the Campbell Creek Trail to actually go under the bridge. The 'meh' news: the highway will be widened from four lanes to six starting at Tudor and going south to Dowling. Only those who get the most out of short-term relief will greet the latter as great news. For those who know better, the Law of Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion will come into play. The new lanes will indeed bring relief to rush hour traffic, but only briefly. As stated by the law, new roads and more lanes will only encourage those who had second thoughts about taking the highway on their commute to use it and thus quickly fill up the new space the extra lanes provide. Once upon a time the New Seward Highway (as it's called within Anchorage city limits) was the drivers savior from the Old Seward Highway. Gone were the frequent stoplights and low speed limit and in was an expanse of road in which stoplights were absent and drivers can breeze by at 65 mph into Midtown. Today the traffic on the Seward Highway literally comes to a complete standstill at times during rush hour (as it does on the Glenn Highway) and cries are made by commuters for more lanes. The cycle will only repeat down the road. But hey, lets focus on the good news! As one of two major east-west trails crossing town, Campbell Creek Trail will finally have its missing link added. Besides adding extra lanes, the highway along with its frontage roads will be raised to provide 10 feet underneath of lighted pathway. Currently, bikers have to duck under a clearance of 5 feet and skirt along the creek. All told, this two year project will have a price tag of 40 million. Check out the ADN article for yourself. There's a lively discussion in the comments section below the article too.