Auke Bay roundabout close to completion

Crews finish construction around water pipe access points. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Crews finish construction around water pipe access points. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

The Auke Bay roundabout is supposed to be done by the end of the week.

“Almost over,” project manager Dan Noziska says with a laugh.

The Alaska Department of Transportation engineer says the public has not been shy in commenting on the very visible project.

“It was hard to take a T-intersection and turn it into this roundabout. It’s kind of like remodeling your house. You’re living in it and still have to live with the mess,” he says.

Work began on the traffic circle last July, and was supposed to have been done before winter started. But the project required a lot of fill material and in September it was discovered the soil in the area probably couldn’t handle the fill without settling.

“That issue was not discovered until we starting construction and it should have been during design, and then the whole project schedule would have revolved around that, because you have to let the material settle,” he says.

So DOT delayed the project to give the fill material time to settle.

“And lo and behold it didn’t really settle, but some of the projections by our geotechnical people were that it could have settled,” he says. “If that had been the case that would have been a worse situation to spend all that money to build that concrete circle and curb and gutter, and then have the thing settle.”

Noziska says the current contract with Miller Construction called for completing the roadway part of the project on July 15, but that’s been pushed to Friday.

“There still may be some signing  and things like that, and painting, but the pavement itself should all be down,” he says. At least “that’s what the goal is.”

Noziska knows motorists will be relieved.

The  state-funded project, from acquiring right-of-way to completion, will total nearly $8 million, about $1 million over estimates, Noziska says. Contractor Miller Construction Co. was awarded $5.032 million for construction.