News from Patrick Flynn

Highway to highway

While I’m a big fan of mass and non-motorized transit, and well known for my skepticism of the Knik Arm Bridge project, there is a road project for which I have high hopes – the Seward Highway to Glenn Highway Connection, better known as the highway to highway project.

In a nutshell, this project is aimed at providing a stoplight-free route through Anchorage and the public scoping process begins next week with meetings at the Mountain View Community Center on Tuesday, July 29, and at Fairview Elementary School on Thursday, July 31. Both events run from 5 – 8 pm with presentations at 6 & 7 pm and, if you are interested, I strongly encourage your attendance.

To describe the project in more detail, the concept is to find a route that connects Anchorage’s two major freeways, the Glenn & Seward highways, through town. Parts of the conceptual route are essentially determined but others are open to discussion. One possibility would sink the highway below grade through Fairview with surface streets (e.g. 9th Avenue) running over the top, a concept sometimes referred to as “cut and cover.” One example with which you may be familiar is Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle. Such a design would fundamentally change Fairview, for the better I think, by once again allowing pedestrians and bicyclists to move from one side of the neighborhood to the other without crossing the busy Gambell-Ingra couplet.

Presuming the project is completed there also exists the possibility of connecting to the Port of Anchorage. As someone who works in the transportation business this is particularly interesting to me because it would reduce the “last-mile” cost of getting products to market, thus saving railbelt consumers money.

Whatever your feelings on this project I encourage you to visit the H2H web site and/or attend the scoping meetings to let your ideas be heard!



This contribution was made on Saturday, 26. July 2008 at 16:09 and was published under the category Transportation. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. funny, i had the opposite reaction about the possible changes to fairview and other places the connection may pass through.
    i’m not sure the seattle I-5 comparison is so relevant. that situation is different. I-5 went in as an elevated freeway in the mid-1960s, and the creation of freeway park and its integration into the convention center — by throwing the city fabric back over the top of I-5 — was an ingenious solution. we could learn a lot from studying it, but basically they were making lemonade — i don’t think anyone would have suggested building something like it in the first place.
    the danger is that H2H will end up looking more like highway 99, NB as it leaves the elevated ramp of the alaskan way viaduct and then disappears into a tunnel. it’s created a noise chamber and it’s not friendly either inside or above.
    so i remain skeptical, i guess. is this really a good use of $600 million?

    Comment: clark – 01. August 2008 @ 10:33 am

  2. Clark,

    Given DOT’s history of “de-scoping” projects to keep them on budget your concerns are valid. As you have previously noted, the Glenn-Bragaw interchange, which represents the unofficial beginning of H2H, appears to be turning out quite well. Just as I hope this project can do for Fairview, the Bragaw project will provide renewed non-motorized connectivity for the Mountain View and Russian Jack neighborhoods.

    Our challenge on H2H is to get a proper route and design, then stay engaged to ensure it is built correctly. I credit the Fairview Community Council for an agressive start on the first part and we are all responsible for the next steps.

    Thanks for commenting!


    Comment: Patrick – 03. August 2008 @ 7:48 am

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