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Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
An Environmental Assessment (EA) for the construction of park road improvements between Mile 73 and 86 is now available for public review and comment, announced Park Superintendent Paul R. Anderson.
The National Park Service (NPS), in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, is considering a project for safety improvements to the western end of the Denali Park Road in Denali National Park and Preserve. The NPS is proposing to:
- Formalize approximately 73 intervisible passing pullouts (visible from one to the next) between mileposts 73 and 86.
- Create two additional interpretive opportunity pullouts.
- Recondition the road surface between mileposts 79-84 by loosening the top two inches, reshaping the crown, and adding an additional two inches of gravel surface wear layer.
- Establish a crown limited to 10% in the straight sections within the road improvement area.
- Establish superelevations (corner banking) limited to 6% on curves within the road improvement area.
- Add four inches of crushed gravel wear layer to the road surface in the pullout work areas.
- Change short radius corners that are now crowned to superelevated (banked) corners.
- Maintain a 22 foot width in five short segments with good visibility.
- Replace all 24 culverts in the project area.
- Replace a road protection device at the outlet of a beaver pond.
The project is necessary because this stretch of road has been identified as having had the fewest safety improvements since it was constructed in the 1930s. A review of documented vehicle accidents between the years 1996 and 2004 shows that the Wonder Lake section of road, which carries only 24% of the unpaved park road vehicle traffic, accounted for 54% of all unpaved park road vehicle incidents, and 100% of all multi-vehicle incidents. Data collected since 1991 indicates that 71% of Wonder Lake area road accidents involve two vehicles in a passing situation.
Improvements to the road are based on the park’s 2007 Road Design Standards, which are a quantitative version of the Road Management summary given in the park’s 1997 Entrance Area and Road Corridor Development Concept Plan/Environmental Impact Statement. The general concept is that the park road west of the Teklanika River would remain a variable width one lane rustic road with pullouts.
The NPS has published an EA for this project titled “Mile 73-86 Park Road Rehabilitation EA.” It is available at the NPS planning web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. The EA analyzes the impacts of the proposed action and the no-action alternative. It was completed in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (40 CFR 1508.9).
Comments on the EA may be submitted through July 9, 2009, preferably via the web site at http://parkplanning.nps.gov. Alternately, comments may be mailed to Steve Carwile, DENA Compliance Project Manager, NPS Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501; Fax 907-644-3803; e-mail us.
If you have any questions about the EA or need paper copies, please call project manager Brad Ebel at (907) 683-9556 or Steve Carwile at (907) 644-3612.