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DOT&PF Anticipates Banner Construction Year

(JUNEAU, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) expects to bid out more than $800 million for more than 100 projects this year; a 33 percent increase from 2009.

Projects are slated for highways, bridges, safety projects, transit projects and airports.

“From Kodiak to Kotzebue, Anchorage to Allakaket and communities in between, Alaskans will be working on transportation projects this year,” said Leo von Scheben, Commissioner, DOT&PF.

Last year, DOT&PF awarded almost $600 million worth of projects, a significant increase above the 2008 total of approximately $400 million.

“State DOT&PF employees and consultants worked extremely hard to increase the number of projects going to bid in 2010,” emphasized von Scheben. “Each project has many phases to complete before going to bid including design, right-of-way, environmental reviews and permitting. I am very proud of how our state employees stepped up under pressure and deadlines and produced for Alaska.”

Commissioner von Scheben noted that the downturn in the economy increased the importance of these projects hitting the streets quickly and thus creating jobs.

“However these projects aren’t just about jobs,” von Scheben continued, “these projects mean Alaska families are driving on safer roads, riding on safer ferries, or landing on better runways.”

Fund sources for these projects include the regular federal highway program, state general funds, general obligation (GO) bonds and federal economic stimulus funds.

“If you have driven on the Glenn Highway or Minnesota Ave in Anchorage, you know those ruts were treacherous,” von Scheben stated. “Economic stimulus funds repaved the Glenn Highway last summer from Hiland Road to the Eklutna Interchange, and this summer’s work will result in new pavement from Merrill Field to downtown Palmer. By the end of the summer, commuters between Mat-Su, Eagle River and Anchorage will be traveling on a smooth, safe and rut free surface.”

Every part of the state will see construction activity this year from Barrow to Metlakatla. Work will continue on the Illinois Street project in Fairbanks and Nordale Road in the Fairbanks North Star Borough will receive new pavement. In rural Alaska, Wrangell, Dillingham, Emmonak and Nome, among many other communities, will see work on their roads.

Construction will also begin this summer on projects funded with general obligation (GO) bonds. Ketchikan’s North Tongass Highway will be widened and a separated pathway constructed. 15 miles of the Dalton Highway will be improved and 7 miles of the Parks Highway susceptible to spring thaw conditions will be rehabilitated.

DOT&PF will initiate work at airports in Nulato, Chefornak, Pilot Station, Hoonah, Sitka and Petersburg this summer. More than $40 million of runway refurbishment will occur at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport as well as bank stabilization work on the Lake Hood float plane facility.

Work on Alaska Marine Highway System facilities will take place at the Angoon, Annette Bay, Haines and Hoonah ferry terminals this summer. A detailed design and constructability review is anticipated to be completed for the new Alaska Class Ferry by late summer. Cruise ship taxes are funding $6.5 million worth of projects in Skagway and Juneau.

“This is one of our most productive years in terms of putting work on the street,” von Scheben said. “DOT&PF staff: our administrative support teams, permit specialists, planners, right of way agents, drafters, designers and engineers have worked all fall and winter to prepare more than a hundred construction projects. Our construction management teams will take over the heavy lifting this summer.”

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