A stretch of Providence Drive through the University of Alaska Anchorage will be closed for two weeks starting this weekend as crews erect a pedestrian bridge linking two campus buildings.
From early Saturday morning until Jan. 4, Providence Drive will be closed in both directions between the Seawolf Drive/Piper Street intersection and the Spirit Way intersection. Through traffic will be diverted onto Piper Street, and UAA traffic around the Health Sciences Building on Spirit Way, officials said.
Crews with Neeser Construction will be building silver steel arches across Providence Drive as well as an enclosed pedestrian gallery.
The $6.1 million bridge will span the most heavily trafficked thoroughfare on campus and serve as a connector between the university's Health Sciences Building and the new Engineering and Industry Building still under construction. The bridge and new engineering building are slated to be open by fall 2015.
John Hanson, senior project manager with UAA Facilities and Construction, said the structure is aimed at improving campus walkability and pedestrian safety. The university hopes students will use the bridge instead of walking across Providence Drive.
The bridge is also designed to encourage collaboration between the engineering and health sciences departments in the bioengineering program, Hanson said.
With students, faculty and staff home for the holidays, there will be less traffic on campus during the closure period. A spokesperson for Providence Alaska Medical Center said the hospital will be monitoring for potential problems.
"Routes via Piper Street and Spirit Drive have been established to provide continued access to Providence Alaska Medical Center. All other regular access points remain open, including access from the east on Providence Drive and Health Drive via Elmore Road," hospital spokesman Mikal Canfield said in an emailed statement. "We are partnering closely with emergency medical services and the University of Alaska Anchorage and will evaluate regularly."
By the time Providence Drive is reopened Jan. 4, the bridge's steel arches will be in place as well as the pedestrian gallery, said Sam Adams, project manager with Neeser Construction.
Hanson said any remaining work on the bridge will be completed through periodic single-lane closures and weekend road closures in the coming months.