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Community Perspective

Summer road construction. It’s enough to drive you crazy

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If you take an aerial snapshot of road construction in Fairbanks this summer, you may end up where I am, i.e., my “stupid meter is pegged!”

Really, taking out two bridges during the same time period crossing the same river? Over two years? Where’s the leadership there?

Then step two, rip out all of Third Street in Graehl to Farewell Avenue while the Wendell Bridge is out. Not to be outdone, the Army has to come through with the king-size trump card of closing the front main gate at Fort Wainwright at same time. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The results are the Steese Highway and Third Avenue areas — all the way past the Birch Hill Cemetery — are a massive traffic jam all day long.

How does one calculate the collective volume of frustration at the intersection of Hamilton, Baranof and the Steese during the day.

Hello! Where is the commissioner of the Department of Transportation? The mayors? Anywhere to be found? Shhhh? Shhh?

I love it — the good people from Chena Hot Spring Road show up already mad from construction on Chena Hot Spring Road. Leadership, guys?

The detours actually funnel the traffic through school zones and residential areas with open playgrounds.

I am a pilot. Flying over this three-ring circus during the day, you see hundreds of cars lined up waiting to enter the human-created traffic jams. It’s that bird’s eye view that pegs my stupid meter.

Does anyone know of an equation to calculate the pollution of 250 cars idling (with the air conditioner on), stopped dead in their tracks, while one person runs a plate compactor at 83 degrees Fahrenheit?

Then there is Trainor Gate Road.

“Dam the torpedos, full speed ahead!” Quadrupole the traffic, and direct them to more congestion.

Thanks to the token temporary gate at Lazelle, I saw how that works from the air too, (from miles away). Really.

Maybe we should consider rerouting traffic through the residential portion of Fort Wainwright right on the same street as their child daycare center and their playgrounds instead of Trainor Gate. I am sure their MPs would be Johnny on the spot to anyone driving inconsistent with safety.

Most government buildings have most of their doors only leading outside and very few doors leading to other personnel offices for planing.

Please don’t tell me that all the state, city, borough and U.S. Army sat down in the same meeting and (“knowingly”) came up with this plan. That would push the needle of my stupid meter past the needle peg, breaking it It’s about leadership and foresight, guys. That’s why you’re paid the big bucks.

Maybe I should apply for a building permit for a new flat roof/heliport, sell the airplane, buy a helicopter so I can pick up my mail, and finally go swimming at Mary Siah.

Jim Gibertoni, HSD, lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.


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