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Bragaw Extension Project Moving Forward Despite Controversy

By Corey Allen-Young, Education Reporter, cyoung@ktuu.com
Published On: Oct 11 2013 04:29:00 PM AKDT

The proposed bragaw extension project, also known as the northern access to the u-med district,  is moving forward. Supporters say they hope it will ease traffic flow in Anchorage. 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

A road project that would connect a section of East Anchorage and the U-Med district has stirred up concerns within the community.

Designs plans are in the works for the proposed Bragaw Extension Project, also known as the Northern Access to the U-Med District, which would create an alternative way into one of the city’s fast growing areas.

As part of the next phase of the project, the state's Department of Transportation has asked the public to weigh in on four proposed routes. Three of them go from Bragaw Road through wetlands and trails and come out near the University of Alaska Anchorage. The other route would go through Northern Lights Boulevard all the way to Providence Drive.

Residents, who live in nearby neighborhoods, say the extension will disrupt their neighborhoods, including former state lawmaker Sharon Cissna, who has lived in Airport Heights for 34 years.

“If you’re going north to south, you go through one of the busiest and one of the most dangerous intersections in town,” said Cissna, who noted that more road traffic would create unsafe conditions for East High School and Russian Jack Elementary students.

Supporters say they hope it will ease traffic flow in Anchorage and provide better access to hospitals and University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University.

“I understand the neighborhood, but sometimes you have to look at a much bigger picture and what's good for the community as a whole and I think that's one of those projects,” said Ernie Hall, Assembly Chairman.

After public comment, a final route decision is expected by January.

Officials say construction for the $20 million dollar project is scheduled to begin in 2015.