Settling soil delays Auke Bay roundabout

Work on the Auke Bay roundabout will be delayed to allow fill material to settle. Miller Construction will build a temporary intersection for the winter.  Photo by Heather Bryant / KTOO

The new Auke Bay roundabout will not be finished until next summer.

The project was supposed to be done in October, but state transportation officials say unexpected issues will delay intersection construction.

Work began on the traffic circle in July.  The project includes curb, gutter and sidewalk into Auke Bay and up Back Loop Road to the entrance of the University of Alaska Southeast.

The roadway will be about 11 feet higher than the existing street and that requires a lot of fill material.  DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow says crews discovered the soil in the area can’t handle the fill without settling.

“The last thing you want to do is throw in a bunch of fill, put a bunch of new asphalt, curb, gutter all around it and then discover that there’s settling occurring and you need to rip it up and do it all over again.”

DOT engineers and contractor Miller Construction have decided to add all  the fill now and let it settle over the winter.

Before work stops later this fall, Woodrow says the uplands between Auke Lake Way and Caroline Avenue will be finished, including permanent pavement. Then Miller Construction will build a temporary intersection between Glacier Highway and the Back Loop.

“It’d probably be more like a T intersection that is similar to what they’re seeing right now.  It’s not going to be muddy and it’s not doing to be a dirt intersection for the winter,” Woodrow says. “There is going to be a temporary asphalt layer down so it should be good for snow, ice and all the other things that come with winter.”

One work starts again in the spring,  it’s hoped the traffic circle will be complete by mid-summer.  It will be the second roundabout in Juneau.

According to Woodrow, water over the roadway last week was caused by heavy rains, not a water main break as first thought. Work stopped temporarily while crews cleaned out storm drains and looked for the site where water was seeping into the project.

He says the delays will add to the cost of the $4.8 million roundabout, but it’s not clear how much.

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