WE NEED YOUR HELP CONNECTING ANCHORAGE TO THE BIRD-TO-GIRD TRAIL
Commenters like YOU needed!
CONNECTING ANCHORAGE TO THE BIRD-TO-GIRD TRAIL
Last summer (July 2020), Bike Anchorage commented on a planned Alaska DOT project to upgrade the Seward Highway at Windy Corner (MP105-107). At that time, DOT’s plans did not include the construction of a separated path along the highway, even though the stated intent was to build a path there at some point in the future. Despite the extensive planned work to widen the highway, blast rock from large sections of the cliff, build a large new parking area, and move the railroad, the additional work to construct the path was not deemed worthwhile.
A major project update: “Windy Corner to Rainbow Point (MP105-109.5)”
But now there’s some good news! Following extensive community feedback, DOT has updated the project to include “potentially constructing” a path in this corridor. This is especially good news because the updated project has been extended by 2 miles and will now cover the stretch between the Falls Creek Trailhead and Rainbow Trailhead.
Project map from http://www.windycorner.info/
Building a separated pathway makes even more sense now that the project is longer (4.5 miles), and would also provide an option to travel between the two trailheads without getting back in your car. Improving safety is a major stated goal of this project, and including the separated pathway is crucial to realize that goal.
Building the path on this section is also the next essential step toward connecting Anchorage to the popular Bird to Gird Trail. This project spans 4 miles of the remaining 12-mile gap from Potter Marsh (Old Seward Hwy) to Indian, where the separated pathway currently starts. We would love to have the option of biking all the way from home to Girdwood without ever having to get on the highway shoulder!
The Bird to Gird Trail is a safe, quiet, and scenic route that is much more welcoming than the highway shoulder. (photo at project site) The Alaska DOT Maintenance budget cannot afford to pay for highway cleaning. No matter the width of constricted shoulders, they'll become 2-foot or less of usable shoulder due to highway debris.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
DOT has opened a new period for public comment on this updated project. Please submit a written comment any time before July 15th. Comments can be sent to:
Tom Schmid, P.E. - Project Manager
DOT&PF Central Region Preliminary Design & Environmental
P.O. Box 196900
Anchorage, AK 99519-6900
Email: [email protected]
A written comment does not need to be long or detailed - you can simply state that you are in favor of constructing a separated path along the highway corridor with the Windy to Rainbow project. Bike Anchorage will be preparing a detailed letter after the open house, and we’ll make it publicly available before the July 15th deadline in case you’d like to get some ideas for your own comment.
See you on the trails!