FAIRBANKS — The Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System has some 150 road, sidewalk and bike path projects in mind for the next 25 years, and it’s looking for input from the public.
FMATS is holding several open houses and taking public comment on the assortment of projects through mid-December. The plan, called the Metropolitan Transportation Plan, includes everything from bridge replacements to sidewalk improvements.
FMATS Director Donna Gardino said the projects mostly will be paid for by annual allocations of federal road dollars and carried out by local or state governments.
“We’re calling it the ‘Roadmap to 2040.’ Pretty catchy,” she said.
A public open house held at the North Pole City Hall on Wednesday night featured big maps of different parts of the borough, detailing every one of the projects and when they might happen. And a handful of members of the public submitted written comments on their take about the proposed projects.
Gardino said ideally the comments will help figure out if the priority of the projects meets the community’s needs and find out if anything is missing.
“We want people to say if something like Bradway is more important than Holmes,” she said, pointing to a map of the North Pole area, that shows Bradway Road reconstruction scheduled as priority
No. 7 in the 2021-2030 time period while Holmes Road reconstruction is No. 2 in the 2031-2040 period.
“There are things that we may have missed,” she said, “even though there’s 150 projects.”
Many of the near-term projects for the 2015-2020 period focus around the Fairbanks area, specifically on sidewalk and pedestrian crossing improvements.
Long term, Andrew Ooms, an engineer with Kittleson & Associates, said a lot of attention is going to have to be paid to the Steese Highway.
“With the long-term model of the traffic needs, the only area we ran into issues with was the Steese,” he said.
He said based on projected growth in the area, the Steese Highway likely will need to be improved, and he pointed to a Department of Transportation study, examining the possibility of turning the area where the Steese runs through Fairbanks into an expressway.
But Gardino stressed that the long-term Roadmap to 2040 is a whole lot more than big transportation projects and has many projects aimed at making it easier for everyone to get around whether it be by car, foot or bicycle.
A second open house will be held from 5-7 tonight at Fairbanks City Hall. More information on the plan can be found online at http://fmats.us, where comments can be submitted.
Contact staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544. Follow him on Twitter: