Seward Highway construction will slow drivers down all summer

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 9:14 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Drivers headed down the Seward Highway may want to budget some extra time to get to their destination. That’s because a series of construction projects that will run throughout the summer could definitely cause delays.

For the fourth year in a row, the Rockfall Mitigation Project will be happening between miles 104 to 113. Justin Shelby with the Alaska Department of Transportation said the work will wrap up at the end of this summer — but for now, it’s still bringing traffic to a standstill.

“Drivers can expect flagging during the day, Monday through Saturday,” Shelby said. “Delays are typically 3 to 5 minutes, with some delays up to 20 minutes when they are removing loose rock from the rock face.”

Further south, another project between miles 75 to 90 the second year of the multiyear project. Workers are smoothing out a dangerous curve near Portage and realigning part of the roadway. Five bridges are also being replaced.

Shelby said the new section of the road will open to drivers in the fall but until then, some traffic will be stop-and-go. The good news, according to Shelby, is that flaggers in the project zone will only disrupt traffic during the night beginning on Memorial Day.

Perhaps the longest wait drivers may experience will occur close to Seward. From mile 17 to 22.5, just south of Moose Pass. The Seward Highway will be closed between 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Thursday for a blasting project. Shelby said nightly single-lane closures will occur throughout the summer, but the total shutdown of the highway will end on May 25.

Shelby said the DOT realizes it’s a lot, which is why drivers need to be patient and drive carefully.

“There are reduced speeds for all of these sites, so be alert for the signs. Speeds are typically reduced down to 35 or 45 miles per hour so be alert for that. Be alert for workers on the side of the road,” he said. “We want drivers to be safe and to keep our workers safe.”