Traffic jams on Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway and Ridgecrest Drive will be the new normal until September. The Alaska Department of Transportation is working on two road projects in Bethel.
Ridgecrest Drive is now paved past Bethel Regional High School, anda new stop sign have been installed at the intersection with Akakeek St. DOT spokesperson Shannon McCarthy says that project is almost over.
But there’s another one. Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway is getting a makeover, or pave-over in this case. DOT is replacing culverts, repaving the highway, and smoothing out the big bump near the BIA Road that can surprise an unaware driver. DOT has divided the project into two phases, with the second phase scheduled for next year.
The last time the highway had extensive work done was two separate projects back in 2006 and 2007. DOT was surprised at how badly the had highway deteriorated since then, even for Bethel’s famously potholed roads.
"The good news, of course, is that we are taking our time to make sure that we excavate out the low points, and replacing with very strong asphalt. So we’re hoping we’ll get some life out of this," McCarthy said.
Knik Construction will close one highway lane near the Bethel Cultural Center from July 30 until August 2. Knik will also repave parts of the highway near BIA Road, closing down a lane.
From August 3 to 6, Knik will close Third Avenue to replace a culvert between Third Avenue and Main Street. A detour route will be established. And finally, from August 7 to 10, Knik will close a section of Ridgecrest Drive to remove a culvert, but will have another route established through Willow Street and Sixth Avenue.