Major rehab of Anchorage's Coastal Trail planned this summer

rshinohara@adn.comMarch 30, 2013 

Here's a nightmare scenario: You're inline skating on the highly popular Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, hit a long, deep crack, and fall on your face in front of a moose.

Anchorage's prized coastal trail, built in the 1980s, is cracked and crumbling in places, a gem that's seen better days.

But it will gets its first major resurfacing this summer, when the city repaves seven miles of the 11-mile trail.

"It's a huge deal for this community," said city parks superintendent Holly Spoth-Torres. She said she's been hearing from trail users that they want the asphalt fixed.

The trail runs along or near the coastline from Kincaid Park to Second Avenue downtown. The repaving project extends from a bridge at Mile 6.6 south of Point Woronzof to Second Avenue. Coastal trail mileposts start with zero at Westchester Lagoon.

The work will be done in phases, and parts of the coastal trail will be closed temporarily while construction is under way.

But the work has been timed to permit some major trail events -- the Alaska Run for Women June 8, the Mayor's Marathon June 22 and the Big Wild Life Runs Aug. 18 -- to carry on.

The city has a budget of $2.25 million for the job, including $1.25 million from a bond proposition approved by Anchorage voters last year, Spoth-Torres said. The other $1 million is from a legislative grant to the Anchorage Park Foundation.

In 2011, the city did a pilot project, repairing a mile of trail near Point Woronzof, from about Mile 4.1 to 5.1, Spoth-Torres said.

The city learned that where there are a lot of cracks, they need to bring in more fill and compact it before laying down new asphalt, she said.

Existing wood-plank bridge surfaces will be replaced with fiberglass-composite decking, Spoth-Torres said.

It "will be smoother and safer for all trail users, including pedestrians, cyclists, inline-skaters and roller skiers," she said in an email.

The construction is scheduled to begin as soon as weather permits in mid- to late May, and continue until Oct. 15, said Jacques Boutet of The Boutet Company, project manager for the job. The first phase, from Mile 6.6 south around the end of the airport, should take three or four weeks, Boutet said.

Phase 2 goes from Westchester Lagoon to Second Avenue, with trail closures scheduled from June 24 to Aug. 15.

Phase 3, the last section, from Earthquake Park to the lagoon, begins Aug. 19 and continues up to Oct. 15.

Part of Phase 1 is already under contract, Boutet said. Bids are scheduled to be opened for the rest of the project on April 4. After that, the city and contractors will develop a more detailed plan of detours and trail closures, he said.

"We just want the public to beware," Spoth-Torres said. "It's going to be quite dangerous when equipment is out there."


Reach Rosemary Shinohara at or 257-4340.


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