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Contact: Kris Fister, 907-683-9583
The National Park Service, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, is considering a project for safety improvements to the western end of the 92-mile long Denali Park Road in Denali National Park and Preserve. The project is being considered because this stretch of road has been identified as having had the fewest safety improvements since it was constructed in the 1930s. The goal of the plan is to improve safety for visitors while maintaining the unique character of the Denali Park Road.
The park’s 1997 Entrance Area and Road Corridor Development Concept Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (DCP/EIS) describes the present view of the character of the park road:
“West of the Teklanika River, the landscape and the road change. Rolling terrain gives way to steep mountains and rugged canyons. The park road changes from a uniform width, two-lane facility to a variable width one lane road with two-lane sections and pullouts. At this point, the landscape and the character of the road become integral parts of the park experience. The sinuous path emphasizes the dramatic terrain. Engineered structures such as bridges are used only as necessary to protect the resource or preserve the road. Signs and related items are kept to a minimum. The character of the road is in keeping with the character of the land: a primitive, low-speed road located in a wild and pristine land.”
The Denali National Park Road Design Standards (RDS), finalized in 2007, established quantitative “character” definitions for each segment of the park road, as described in the DCP/EIS. The RDS addresses the size, shape and strength of - and the footprint covered by - the road structure, sight distance issues, drainage issues, roadside brushing, and the use of geotechnical products. This would be the first road rehabilitation project to fully incorporate the 2007 standards.
Road improvements in this section will be focused on strengthening outside road edges to reduce the risk of collapse, formalizing existing pullouts and adding new ones to increase safety for passing vehicles, and reconditioning and placing additional surface material to improve the maintainability of the road surface.
A reasonable range of alternatives will be developed for consideration that are responsive to significant issues identified through agency and public involvement. An Environmental Assessment will be developed during Fall 2008.
A public scoping meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Murie Science and Learning Center, located at Mile 1.3 on the Denali Park Road. Copies of the park’s Road Design Guidelines, drawings of typical improvements and pictures of typical areas potentially affected will be available.
Please contact Steve Carwile at (907- 644-3612), or e-mail us for additional information.
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