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The DOT&PF is proposing to construct improvements along the Seward Highway between Bird Flats and Rabbit Creek. This major infrastructure project will make long-term permanent highway improvements to allow decommissioning of the Traffic Safety Corridor between Anchorage and Girdwood.
The world class scenic views, wildlife, and recreational opportunities of Chugach State Park make this 20-mile segment one of the most challenging to reconstruct. The Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood is constrained between the steep slopes of the Chugach Mountains and the waters of Turnagain Arm.
We are beginning this new project with environmental scoping, studies, and assessment of impacts. This process will lead to design development and ultimately construction of long-term improvements. Input from the interested parties is critical to the success of this project.
Read more about the project:
The Seward Highway is a state-owned and operated highway. The Project area falls within a DOT&PF Designated Safety Corridor, a segment of state highway with a higher-than-average incidence of fatal and major injury crashes. The Seward Highway is also recognized for its scenic, natural, historical, and recreational values and holds three designations: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Scenic Byway, Alaska Scenic Byway, and All-American Road. These designations recognize and protect the most scenic, historic, and recreational highways in the United States.
The current effort to improve safety along the Seward Highway between Anchorage and Girdwood began in the early 2000s. In 2004, DOT&PF proposed design improvements for a problematic section of the Seward Highway between MP 105 and 115 to improve vehicular and pedestrian safety. DOT&PF and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) signed and approved a categorical exclusion (CE) in 2004. In 2006, the Seward Highway from MP 90 to 117.5 was designated as the state’s first Safety Corridor due to the elevated rate of fatal and major injury (high severity) crashes.
DOT&PF conducted the Seward Highway MP 105–107 Windy Corner Project in compliance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements, producing a Draft EA that was made available to the public in March 2020 (DOT&PF 2020). After reviewing public comments received on that document, DOT&PF extended the project north, between Windy Corner and Rainbow Point: MP 105-109.5.
In 2022, the DOT&PF further extended the scope of the study to encompass the highway from MP 98.5 to 118. This project has been identified as Project No. 0A31034/ Z566310000 Seward Highway MP 98.5 to 118 Bird Flats to Rabbit Creek. This will allow the DOT&PF to develop solutions for a longer corridor, considering impacts and mitigation in a comprehensive manner. The project team will incorporate comments, issues, and analyses from prior projects in identifying the needs and potential transportation solutions. The NEPA process will begin anew to address the changed project termini. Now, the DOT&PF is initiating a new Environmental Assessment to encompass the larger project area.