Northern Lights Blvd. closed betwen Lake Otis Pkwy. and UAA Dr. through August
by Green & Gold News |
Beginning the evening of July 5, Northern Lights Boulevard will be fully closed between Lake Otis Parkway and UAA Drive for 30 days. Municipality of Anchorage (MOA) work crews will be replacing a creek culvert that collapsed under the road. The road will be fully closed so that the creek can be diverted during construction. MOA will keep the project page updated as additional information becomes available.
Construction will take about 30 days, with Northern Lights Boulevard reopening in July.
Northern Lights Boulevard closure FAQs
Answers to the following questions are provided by the Municipality of Anchorage (MOA). For more information, visit the MOA website.
- What happened?In December 2019, one of two steel creek culverts under Northern Lights Boulevard at Chester Creek began to collapse, creating a sinkhole in the road. The MOA completed emergency repairs in December to keep the road open to traffic. The culverts, however, are still damaged and need to be replaced.
- What construction is happening now?Starting in July, the MOA will completely replace the old steel culverts with a new, concrete box culvert. During construction, we will divert the creek and close down both the eastbound and westbound lanes to traffic between Lake Otis Parkway and UAA Drive.
- When will Northern Lights Boulevard reopen?We anticipate construction will take about 30 days, with Northern Lights Boulevard reopening in August.
- Why didn't this work begin sooner?A project of this size and complexity normally takes about two years to complete, from permitting and design through construction. We are operating on an accelerated schedule of approximately six months, so that we can reopen the road before winter. While we would have liked to begin construction earlier, it was not possible for us to design this project and fabricate the new culvert in less time.
- Why do all lanes need to be closed?Chester Creek flows through the culvert, and we need to divert the creek during construction. The creek is also an active salmon habitat. Under normal circumstances, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game would not allow construction while salmon are still running upstream. Due to the emergency nature of this project, Fish & Game is allowing us to proceed as long as the creek is diverted.
- Was this earthquake related?We can’t say for sure if the November 2018 earthquake damaged this culvert, though it is safe to say that the earthquake certainly did not help. The culverts were originally built in 1981 and are beyond their useful lifespan. After the sinkhole formed in December 2019, MOA inspections showed significant corrosion and rust below the waterline of both culverts, which weakened them structurally. The new concrete culvert we are installing will not rust, will have a longer lifespan, and will be seismically more robust.