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By Dan Rudy 

Wood Street traffic closed for paving


Dan Rudy/ Wrangell Sentinel

Workers move earth from Wood Street on Tuesday morning, just outside Alpine Mini Mart. Workers will dig up the road in order to make a number of utility improvements, after which the paving can commence.Workers move earth from Wood Street on Tuesday morning, just outside Alpine Mini Mart. Workers will dig up the road in order to make a number of utility improvements, after which the paving can commence.

Following the July 4 weekend, last Wednesday Wrangell's Public Works Department began closing off Wood Street for resurfacing work. The

project is expected to last into September, with contractors laying out underground

utilities and paving the road in concrete, from where it meets Zimovia Highway to the entrance of the Alaska Island Community Services clinic parking lot.

The city made resurfacing the road a priority for the new year, as a grant acquired for the project expires in June 2017. Borough manager Jeff Jabusch had at past meetings of the Assembly explained work was being put on hold until

resurfacing along Evergreen Road began, as the

necessary equipment would have already been brought up for the project.

Earlier this year the Assembly was informed the Alaska Department of Transportation would not be moving ahead with its Evergreen project as first anticipated, and work is now expected to start next year. The delay was just another in a series, with completion dates progressively moved back since 2013. Once finished, the Evergreen paving project would

rehabilitate the road and its pedestrian access from the Alaska Marine Highway terminal to 500 feet short of the airport.

This in mind, the Assembly elected to move ahead with Wood Street this summer. A contract was awarded to

Rock-N-Road Construction for about $948,000 the amount, and another $105,860 to PND Engineers for contract

administration and inspection services. Those funds would largely be paid by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, which provided the grant. Of the total project costs, $90,000 will be paid through Wrangell's sales tax street fund.

Once complete, previously pothole-ridden access to the AICS facility will have been smoothed out, and its utility connections improved.

The work will involve not just the paving of the

roadway, but construction of sidewalks, storm runoff conveyance, fish stream culverts, two new water mains, sanitary sewer system and underground electricity. The project looks ahead to future development as well, as the site may eventually see construction of a new campus for Wrangell Medical Center.

In the meantime, residents en route to the clinic will

need to take a detour by way of Pine Street, just south from the Public Safety Building on Zimovia. Travelers can

connect with the facility by following along Etolin

Dan Rudy/ Wrangell Sentinel

A detour sign at the corner of Pine Street and Zimovia Highway alerts drivers to the temporary route to AICS.

Street. Users of the road and residents along it should also keep in mind emergency vehicles going to and from the clinic will also be using the same route.

Though early into the project, so far AICS has not seen any inconvenience from the detour.

"I talked with the front desk, and they have had no complaints from patients," said Terry Wagner, its head of operations. She pointed to extensive advertisement and signage put out by the city ahead of time, as well as AICS' own efforts to alert its patients in advance.

"We've advertised it well, we're making sure we're contacting all of our patients," commented Carly Allen, AICS clinical manager.

"So far, knock on wood, it'll continue to go smoothly," Wagner added.

For more information, visit the Public Works home page or call its office at 874-3904.


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