Attempt to scuttle U-Med access road dies in Alaska Senate

Tegan Hanlon

An attempt by an Anchorage lawmaker to halt construction of the controversial University-Medical District Northern Access road failed Monday as an amendment to the Senate operating budget.

State Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, proposed stripping $20 million in state funding from the project that would provide a north-south connection between Elmore Road and Northern Lights Boulevard.

Gardner, who represents the U-Med area of Midtown, told legislators that her constituents deeply oppose a road through the U-Med District. "People are angry that they haven't had their say," she said. "I heard about it at community council meeting after community council meeting."

The road has been discussed for decades. In February, city planners rolled out the preferred route for the road project, opting for the most direct connection of the four proposals. Initial sketches showed a two-lane roadway, less than a mile long, with three roundabouts and three pedestrian bridges.

Last year, the House Finance Committee inserted the $20 million for the road project into the capital budget, passed by both the House and the Senate.

Gardner's amendment failed, 4-16, with all four votes coming from Anchorage Democrats.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at or 257-4589.