Subsequent to the Open House No. 3 and an online feedback survey, the DOT&PF heard from many concerned Alaskans about the study area and the significant potential impacts from the various alternatives developed under the Parks Highway Alternative Corridor Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) Study. As a result of these concerns, the Department will be focusing on a regional analysis and/or model(s) of future traffic congestion and travel patterns can be developed that more broadly predict likely future scenarios for the development of transportation infrastructure in the Mat-Su as Alaska grows.
The Department will provide updates and seek input as these efforts develop.
Due to sustained population growth in the Mat-Su Valley, congestion along the city’s main corridor, the Parks Highway, creates significant traffic delays during peak periods. As a result, the Alaska DOT&PF has identified the need for a future alternative highway corridor in the Wasilla area of the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Valley, building on prior planning studies.
To assess this congestion, DOT&PF has chosen to use the PEL study to identify an alternative transportation corridor. The PEL process will smooth the future National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and provide opportunities for public input and involvement.
The purpose of the Parks Highway Alternative Corridor Planning and Environmental Linkage (PEL) Study is to identify a feasible alternative highway corridor that will:
The project will plan for the development of an alternate highway corridor that connects to the Parks Highway between the Hyer Road Interchange and West Hawk Lane, which represents the maximum possible extent of the project.
This PEL Study was preceded by several projects that sought to identify a bypass corridor around the City of Wasilla, dating back to the 1980s. Most recently, the Parks Highway Alternative Corridor Project Conceptual Planning Report (April 2015) explored options for relieving Parks Highway congestion through development of a Wasilla area bypass rather than through expansion of the existing Highway. The ten-year study, which included extensive public involvement, recommended six alternative corridor alignments for further evaluation. Since the completion of the Conceptual Planning Report, the population in the project area has continued to grow and further development has occurred. This PEL Study will provide a fresh evaluation of the existing conditions and issues, develop a clear project purpose and need, and identify alternatives that are able to be implemented to effectively permit and construct a Parks Highway Alternative Corridor.
Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) is a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that:
The benefits of stronger linkages between the transportation planning and NEPA/project development processes can include:
The environmental review, consultation, and other actions required by applicable Federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried out by DOT&PF pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated April 13, 2023, and executed by FHWA and DOT&PF.