CBJ public works committee meets

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Several grant opportunities to improve equipment and facilities were discussed by the committee today.

    The committee recommended the Assembly spend $380,000 to install a new two lane automatic door system at the departure lounge at Juneau International Airport.  

    Airport Manager Patty Wahto said there have been travelers caught between the two doors in the past.

    They could not use federal aviation grant dollars for the system.  The system they want has been a success at other facilities like the Portland, Oregon Airport.

    Wahto said the money would come from the fund balance.  The Airport board has approved the expenditure.  The secure exit lane allows travelers to proceed out the departure lounge into an unsecured second floor meet and greet space.

    The committee recommended the Assembly allocate $400,000 in local sales tax dollars to make improvements to the Kaxdigoowu Heen Dei trail.  The trail eroded into the Mendenhall River just upstream of the Brotherhood Bridge.  The CBJ also replaced the bridge over Montana Creek due to erosion.

    The CBJ would apply with the Alaska Department of Transportation Alternatives Program grant for $1.5 million.  The section near the base of Pederson Hill at Buckskin Road to Back Loop Road needs grading, drainage and paving work.

    The committee recommended participation in the grant program, provide the match from sales tax, and commit to the maintenance and upkeep of the trail.

    The committee also recommended the transfer of funds from two previous projects into the downtown wayfinding project.  The aging and inaccurate signage in the downtown core could be replaced in the spring and summer.  The CBJ had budgeted $450,000 in marine passenger fees for this project.  A judge ruled these fees could not be used for facilities that don't benefit the cruise ships.

    The project would include 14-feet tall gateway markers at key intersections like Marine Way, Admiral Way, Ferry Way, Seward Street, Main Street and Whittier Street.  The CBJ is also in the process of applying for grants to fund an audio wayfinding component for the system.  Juneau residents would voice stories about the places the audience is seeing.

    The wayfinding would safely direct pedestrian cruise ship passengers into and through town, disperse crowds from the waterfront to alleviate congestion and enhance the visit experience by offering insights into life and history in Juneau.  The money would come from the waterfront seawalk, $385,000 and $100,000 from the cultural gateway project.

    The committee also recommended approval for new technology for electronic fare boxes for Capital Transit.  The state would provide $600,000 and the CBJ would provide a local match of $150,000.

    Director of Engineering and Public Works Mike Vigue said the CBJ will apply for grants to replace three paratransit vans for $216,000.  The required local match is $54,000.  They will also apply for grants for snow removal equipment to remove snow from the 51 bus shelters.  The grants are for $316,000 with a local match of $79,000.  This will purchase two tractors equipped with sand salt spreaders and snow blower attachments that can cut through ice and snow and make it safer to walk to bus shelters in the winter time.  

    Vigue said the should have news soon on the Valley Transit Center.  They are working with the Mendenhall Mall for property near the Chinese Restaurant.  Vigue said the Mall could be sold in the next 45 days and the new owners want the transit center to be apart of their business plan.

    Vigue said they would have enough space for park and ride, and a way onto Riverside Drive, "It would create more efficient routing for buses and easier access for customers."


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