JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —
The permanent road closure of a commonly-used portion of Zeamer Avenue is scheduled to take place June 18 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The closure will provide safer future traffic flow and added gate security.
The portion of road south of Front Circle Drive and north of Provider Drive will remain permanently closed, while the temporarily-closed portion north of Front Circle Drive is scheduled to re-open at the completion date of the Wilkins Avenue Extension in mid-September 2018.
“The road closure requires us to create a detour to the hospital which is a high-traffic area, and this means commuters need to be aware of a few things,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Vhance Valencia, commander of the 673d Civil Engineer Squadron. “First, we’ll be placing a three-way stop at the intersection of Grady Highway and Zeamer Avenue. This is a very big change as the current traffic on Grady Highway has no stops. Secondly, commuters need to plan for additional time during peak traffic at the hospital.”
On June 15, the temporary three-way stop will be put into place. Advance warning signs will also be placed on the approach to the intersection, allowing drivers enough time to make the stop. Additional detour signage will be posted near affected intersections announcing the routes available.
“Ultimately, the road closure is needed to enhance the safety and security of the Muldoon Gate as well as increase the safety for travelers to and from the hospital,” said Scott Adams, a 673d CES engineer and project manager. “As it stands now, the gate is far too close to the heavily trafficked intersection, creating daily back-ups for drivers, sometimes causing people to take unnecessary risks. With the new traffic patterns, our concern is the chance of an increase in the number of accidents until people get used to it.”
The new Wilkins Avenue extension is the first in a series of projects to improve the Muldoon Gate area to provide safer traffic flow to the surrounding neighborhoods and hospital.
Officials will assess how the road closure is affecting traffic throughout construction to determine if further measures are needed, Adams said.
“We need to make enhancements to the gate in order to ensure our installation’s defense,” Valencia said. “It is very important for all of JBER’s gates to meet the most current force protection standards. This new road allows for the complete redesign of the gate.”
In addition to the Wilkins Avenue extension, JBER is scheduled to make upgrades to the Muldoon Gate perimeter late summer 2018 and Provider Drive with work expected to start spring of 2019.
Check for JBER road construction updates by visiting: http://www.jber.jb.mil/