The people living and working along Knik-Goose Bay (KGB) Road will see significant safety upgrades along the highway with the official start of Phase One of the Knik-Goose Bay Road Reconstruction project.
The project will reconstruct KGB into a four-lane separated roadway with wider shoulders, bike path, turn lanes, signalized intersections, and continuous lighting.
“This project is critical to the safety of the Alaskans who drive this roadway every day,” said Gov. Mike Dunleavy. “These roadway improvements will drive down the serious crashes that have plagued this community for decades. I look forward to the day in which we don’t have any highway safety corridors.”
KGB Road was designated by the State of Alaska as a Safety Corridor in 2009 due to numerous fatalities and major crashes on the road. KGB has a fatal crash rate that is nearly four times the national average.
The reconstruction project was paused in 2016 by Gov. Bill Walker. The money was in place, and it was fully funded through mainly federal funds and pre-authorized state funds, but Walker used money as an excuse for putting it on hold.
\More than a dozen people have lost their lives on the road since then. Some say Walker was using it as a political battering ram against the Valley delegation, which opposed his policies on several fronts, including his vetoing of the Permanent Fund dividend.
Gov. Dunleavy made a commitment to Mat-Su Valley residents to get the road project restarted as soon as possible. Saturday was the groundbreaking.
KGB Road is a two-lane highway with average daily traffic of over 19,000 vehicles near the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. KGB was constructed on its current alignment in 1966.
Phase One of the reconstruction will upgrade four miles of KGB from Centaur Avenue to Fairview Loop. The project will expand the corridor to a four-lane divided roadway with a separated multi-use pathway on the north side. The roadway will have wider shoulders, street lighting, and median breaks approximately every half mile or mile. The project will construct several signalized intersections, including a new signalized intersection at Endeavor Street, significantly improving access to the Smith Ball Fields.
“It is imperative to make our transportation network safer, for our families and our communities,” said Commissioner Ryan Anderson. “The department is committed to doing the work that will ultimately allow us to decommission the Highway Safety Corridors. We’re nearly there on the Parks Highway, starting work on KGB, and we have our sights set on making the necessary improvements to the Seward and Sterling Highways.”
“Addressing the life/safety issues on this main arterial in this incredibly high growth area has been a top priority of mine along with the entire Mat-Su Delegation,” said Senate Majority Leader, Senator Shelley Hughes. “Along with working with Governor Dunleavy to restore the dollars removed by the prior administration, it’s been a community effort as we’ve heard from countless individuals and families who daily drive on KGB as well as from those who’ve tragically lost loved ones on this key route. Together we have pushed for safety improvements and a timely schedule to move the project forward. While construction is underway, it will take patience and cautious driving on all our parts, but I know we are thankful for DOT and private sector workers for their planning and preparation as well as will be for their boots on the groundwork all the way to project completion.”
“I want to thank the legislators who pushed hard to get the KGB improvements funded and the administration for making it a priority. My daughter and grandkids lived down KGB and I know personally how important this safety upgrade is for the people who live and work down the KGB corridor, including many who go into Big Lake. As one of the fastest growing areas of the state, and one of the more dangerous roads, this couldn’t happen soon enough,” said Senator Mike Shower, who spontaneously gave his ceremonial shovel to a woman who had lost her husband to a car wreck on the road.
“I would like to thank Governor Dunleavy and the DOT for executing Phase 1 of the KGB Reconstruction project. I also extend my appreciation to all those in the community who actively engaged to make this project happen,” said Senator David Wilson. “The four-lane divided roadway improves mobility for people and freight, adds capacity, and corrects problems created by unconstrained access. Many years in the making, this top priority project will improve safety, reduce congestion, and save precious lives, now and in the future.”
“It is unfortunate that this lifesaving project was stalled by the shortsighted and punitive actions of the previous administration. This incredibly necessary project has been a long time coming to fruition. It has also been a team effort of Mat-Su legislators, both current and former, to get us to this point. I am proud to join with my colleagues and Governor Dunleavy in getting this project underway,” said Representative Cathy Tilton.
“I would like to thank the tireless work of four current and past legislators, Sen Wilson, Rep Tilton, Rep Neuman and Rep Sullivan-Leonard on KGB Road and the citizens of the Mat Su,” said Representative Kevin McCabe. “Without their grit and teamwork, we would not be here today. Thank you, Governor Dunleavy for looking out for all Alaskans. I’m proud to help bring this project home.”
“Mat-Su Valley residents are excited to see construction crews at work rebuilding KGB road,” said Wasilla Mayor Glenda Ledford. “Once the road is completed it will be a safe and effective transportation corridor for drivers, pedestrians, and bikers. I want to thank the Mat-Su Valley legislators, DOT Commissioner Anderson, his staff and Governor Dunleavy for recognizing and making KGB Road a public safety priority.”
Phase One is expected to be substantially complete in the fall of 2024. Phase Two is scheduled to start in 2025.
DOT has created this fact sheet for Phase 1 of the KGB Road reconstruction project.