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Statewide construction project roundup: thousands working on projects worth billions.

Summer in Alaska is a time to build, and this year is no different. Construction contractors are building roads, bridges, and many buildings and will continue through the fall and, for some builders, even through the winter. A sampling of projects finds work underway throughout the state.

Northern Alaska

Stage 1 of the Kotzebue Airport and Safety Area Improvements continues this year. The project began in October 2013 and ADOT&PF officials expect it to be complete by August. General contractor Brice Incorporated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calista Corporation, says thirty-five workers will be employed at peak construction for this $30 million project.

Brice is also contracted through ADOT&PF to reconstruct a thirteen mile stretch of the Dalton Highway, from milepost 401 to 414 near Deadhorse on the North Slope. The $26 million project expects to see fifty workers at peak construction. Slated to be complete in August 2016, Brice says it will raise the grade, replace all culverts, and resurface the road.

The Deadhorse Airport will see improvements one step at a time as Brice installs a foundation pad, piles, and a passive refrigerated foundation system in preparation for building equipment bays, a sand storage bay, and upgrades to the existing Airport Rescue and Firefighter Facility and Snow Removal Equipment Storage Building. The $2 million contract will see fifteen workers at peak construction and is expected to last a month, beginning this month with completion in July, according to Brice.



The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Engineering Facility project began in April 2013 by general contractor Davis Constructors. The $118.1 million project is a six floor, 119,000-square-foot building with renovations to 23,000 square feet of the adjacent Duckering Building. Davis completed exterior construction in April and quickly proceeded with mechanical, electrical, and plumbing work, but UAF has not yet announced a completion date. ECI Hyer was the architect; AMC Engineers was the mechanical and electrical contractor; PDC, Inc. handled structural and civil engineering; and NBBJ was the project planner. UAF expects eighty contractor employees at peak construction. The US Army Corps of Engineers contracted Tunista Construction to build a 13,163-square-foot Company Operations Facility for the Aviation Task Force Phase 3B at Fort Wainwright. The facility will house an administrative module, a readiness module, and an enclosed hardstand facility. The building will be fit for office and warehouse space, Tunista says. The $9.5 million contract includes construction of water, steam, condensate, sewer, and power for the entire facility. The project began in April 2014 and will be complete in October. Tunista expects 122 workers at peak construction including subcontractors.

The US Army Corps of Engineers contract to design and construct the Mechanical-Electrical Building on Fort Greely, Missile Field 1, was awarded to Watterson Construction for $44.3 million. Watterson began the foundations in April and expects to complete the project by spring 2016. Watterson says it expects eighty workers at peak employment.

General contractor Westmark Construction began building the Koyukuk Health Clinic in Koyukuk, nearly three hundred miles west of Fairbanks in May 2014. The Denali Commission funded 80 percent of the $2.8 million City of Koyukuk project. The 1,580-square-foot facility was ready for occupancy in February, but the Denali Commission anticipates completion of the remaining items by July.

Western Alaska

In the Western city of Emmonak ten miles from the Bering Sea, the Denali Commission provided more than $1.8 million to upgrade about three miles of the Emmonak Road surface. Anchorage-based Bering Pacific Construction was awarded the contract in November 2012, began the bulk of the work in 2014, and expects to finish the job this year, according to the Denali Commission.

STG Incorporated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calista Corporation, began construction on the Emmonak Power Plant in May. Owned by the Alaska Village Electric Cooperative, the Emmonak Power Plant will be 2,496 square feet. STG estimates about twelve workers at peak employment and expects to complete the project in July 2016.

Through the Association of Village Council Presidents, Brice Marine, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calista Corporation, is upgrading community streets in Chevak near Hooper Bay. The $3 million contract began in June and is expected to be complete in July. Brice Marine says it will employ ten workers at peak construction.

Ekwok Village Council awarded STG Incorporated the contract to complete the Ekwok Landfill Bridge project. Spanning approximately 115 feet, the project began in March and is expected to be complete in September 2016. The workforce is made up of four to six skilled field employees and up to four Ekwok-based employees, according to STG. This is part of a $5.88 million project for a new landfill with a road and bridge for the village to access it.

The Denali Commission funded a $2.6 million project for Delta Junction-based Carpenter Contracting, Inc. to complete a 2,400-foot-long board road (about 19,200 square feet) in Tununak. The contract was awarded in June 2014, and the project for the Native Village of Tununak is expected to be complete by October, according to the Denali Commission.


On Kodiak Island, Watterson Construction began site, utility, and building improvements to the existing Kodiak High School in May 2013. At 720 Mill Bay Road in Kodiak, work encompasses about seventy-seven thousand square feet of new construction, including a four-story tower, commons, and other new construction, according to Watterson. Additionally, about ninety thousand square feet of selective demolition and renovation to existing construction will continue in the Kodiak Island Borough school. Site work includes replacement of existing utilities, parking and driveway improvements, landscaping, site lighting, and other improvements. Work also includes heating control and metering for the adjacent existing swimming pool and Gerald C. Wilson Auditorium. The total project is worth about $80.5 million, with $63 million of that contracted to Watterson. Peak employment is expected to reach seventy workers, and completion is slated for this December.

Also on the island, the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge granted a $2.03 million contract to Anchorage-based Tunista Construction to build a Kodiak National Wildlife Replacement Triplex in September 2013. The project includes one single-story unit and two two-story units. Tunista Construction, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Calista Corporation, expects peak employment at forty-six workers and completion by July.


Akutan, more than 750 miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutians East Borough, is seeing dock improvements this year. The Akutan City Dock Improvement project was awarded to Turnagain Marine Construction Corporation in October 2014. The $1.21 million project will allow Turnagain Marine to reconstruct various portions of the existing city dock in Akutan to better accommodate Alaska Marine Highway System ferries and other use. Construction was anticipated to begin in spring.

Cold Bay, farther up the Aleutian Chain and still part of the Aleutians East Borough, will also undergo dock improvements this year. Turnagain Marine was awarded the Cold Bay Dock Improvements project in October 2014. The $1.32 million project will restore the existing fender system and other deteriorated components. The Cold Bay dock services Alaska Marine Highway System ferries and other shipping and freight users. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall.


The City and Borough of Sitka, along with general contractor Barnard Construction Inc. and construction manager McMillen Jacobs Associates, officially dedicated the newly expanded Blue Lake Dam in May. The City of Sitka relies on two hydroelectric power plants to supply nearly all of its electricity. In recent years, Sitka has experienced load growth due to rising oil prices and increased demand for more affordable hydro powered electric heat. The expansion project raised the dam by eighty-three feet, increasing Blue Lake's production by 50 percent and providing 27 percent more electricity for Sitka. Along with expansion, the dam has a new intake, surge shaft, and powerhouse.

First National Bank Alaska's new Juneau Regional Branch is under construction. Located at the corner of 10th Street and Glacier Avenue in the downtown area of Alaska's capital city, the branch is set to open this fall. First National says the Juneau Regional Branch will provide access to the only drive-up lane and 24/7 drive-up ATM in the capital city's downtown area. It will have on-site parking, online account access at the lobby's customer service kiosk, and more privacy when using safe deposit boxes in a special room.

The Brotherhood Bridge Replacement project in Juneau moved into its second phase this spring and summer with completion scheduled for fall. The $30 million project will accommodate two lanes of traffic in each direction over the bridge and add both a multiuse path on the upstream side and a sidewalk on the downstream side.

Juneau-based Secon, owned by Colaska, Inc., continues its work on the North Douglas Pavement Rehabilitation and Roundabout to Fish Creek Road project. After completing the pavement overlay and guard rail installation on North Douglas Highway in October 2014, Secon returns this summer to complete the unfinished driveways. In late summer Secon will install a new membrane and overlay for the Lawson Creek Bridge.

Fritz Cove Road in Juneau along Auke Bay is undergoing rehabilitation and repairs this year. The $3.1 million contract with Secon will widen the road, install new guardrails, rehabilitate the existing grade, and install new pavement. ADOT&PF expects the project to be complete by the end of July.

The Mendenhall Dust Control Project will allow Secon to install new sub base and asphalt pavement on thirteen City and Borough Juneau residential streets in order to control dust. The $1.7 million project is expected to be finished in August.

On Prince of Wales Island, the Hydaburg Highway Pavement Rehabilitation will be underway. Under the $11.9 million contract, Haines-based Southeast Road Builders plans to install new culverts and bridge railings, correct super elevation on curves, and install a chip seal surface over the twenty-two-mile road. ADOT&PF expects the project to be complete in August 2016.

Seattle-based Western Marine Construction has been stockpiling material, and the offsite fabrication of marine structures is underway for the Haines Ferry Terminal. The $15 million project is scheduled for completion in summer 2016.

The Annette Bay Ferry Terminal Improvements project was awarded to Western Dock and Bridge LLC in December 2014. The $782,000 project will provide a new mooring dolphin at the Annette Bay ferry terminal facility in order to better accommodate use by the Inter-Island Ferry Authority ferry system vessels as well as the Alaska Marine Highway System. Construction started in spring of this year.


Drivers traveling between Anchorage and Eagle River will notice the Glenn Highway Capacity Improvements project. Managed by ADOT&PF (Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities), the $42.5 million project broke ground in September 2014 and is scheduled to be complete in the fall. Design-build contractor Kiewit Infrastructure West Co., along with subcontractor HDR Alaska, will undergo improvements to the north and southbound lanes of the Glenn Highway between the Hiland Drive interchange and the Artillery Road interchange in Eagle River to improve driving conditions, according to ADOT&PF Central Region.

A road project in the Anchorage area includes one that the Municipality of Anchorage awarded Roger Hickel Contracting the 48th Avenue and A Street extension and upgrade project. The $3 million contract will see six to twelve workers on site, according to Roger Hickel Contracting. The project began July 2014 and is expected to be complete in August.


Construction continues on the $38 million West Dowling Road project as ADOT&PF works with Granite Construction to extend Dowling Road west from C Street to Minnesota Drive. West Dowling Road is scheduled to open to traffic in October and is scheduled to be complete in June 2016.

In Girdwood, Davis Constructors was awarded the $2.4 million bid to make improvements to Olympic Mountain Loop near Alyeska Resort through ADOT&PF. This federally-funded project will rehabilitate and pave Olympic Circle from Arlberg Avenue to the connecting end at Arlberg Avenue in Girdwood. The project also includes striping and drainage improvements.

Numerous other road improvement projects are in progress throughout the streets of the Municipality.

Also in Anchorage, the city is seeing many new buildings and improvements, including healthcare centers, schools, and the facilities that keep the city running smoothly.

On the Alaska Native Health Campus, the two-story Southcentral Foundation Therapy Center is seeing progress. Anchorage-based Watterson Construction began building the center in August 2014 and expects to complete it in January 2016. Located at 4085 Tudor Centre Drive, the facility is made up of a therapy center and space for training, public programs, and offices. The large therapy room on the building's first floor can seat two hundred people. A new parking lot with irrigation and landscaping completes the site work. Watterson says the 60,061-square-foot building cost nearly $24.6 million and will employ about seventy workers.

The Asplund Wastewater Treatment Facility on Hutson Drive near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is undergoing a $7.7 million building demolition and renovation. Roger Hickel Contracting began the Anchorage Water & Wastewater Utility project in August 2014 with expected completion in October. Roger Hickel Contracting says peak employment reached twenty-five workers. Subcontractors for the project are GV Jones & Associates, Electric Power Systems, HDR Alaska, PM&E Services, Reid-Middleton, RSA Engineering, and UMIAQ.

Downtown Work

In Downtown Anchorage, the Anchorage 5th Avenue Mall will see changes. Simon Properties contracted Anchorage-based Cornerstone General Contractors to upgrade mall restrooms. The project began this month and ends in October. Cornerstone is also contracted by lululemon athletica--the Vancouver, BC retailer known for yoga style athletic apparel--to build the interior space of the store. The project began in April, and Simon Properties says it will be completed in the summer.

The building located on 609 F Street undergoing significant renovations is now known as Williwaw. As of May, Benchmark Construction had made significant progress on the project. Interior demolition and abatement was completed. Structural refit, including installation of new steel beams and columns was completed, according to Pfeffer Development. A new elevator and stair tower was constructed. The old exterior canopy was removed and exterior site preparation continued for entry stairs, patio, and handicap ramping. The new entertainment venue will house Steam-Dot coffee and the Blues Central bar and music venue. The project, near the corner of Sixth Avenue and F Street, is scheduled for completion this month.

EasyPark parking garages are undergoing renovations in Anchorage. Concrete & Masonry was awarded the contract, and will be coordinating with Gunnar Malm & Associates, Inc. and Anchorage-based engineering firm BBFM Engineers, Inc. for facility structural improvements this summer. Phase 1 work at 7th and G Street, 6th and H Street, and 5th and B Street parking garages began in May and are expected to be complete in August. The work consists of garage sealant removal and replacement, crack repairs, concrete repair, traffic membrane repair, application of silane water-repellant, and line striping.

The Delta Western Bulk Fuel Facility near the Port of Anchorage will undergo civil site work by general contractor Roger Hickel Contracting. With ten to fifteen workers on site, Roger Hickel Contracting began in April and expects to complete the project in October.

At 1300 Ocean Dock Road near the Port of Anchorage, the Anchorage Sand & Gravel ABI Cement Loading Facility began to see concrete foundation work in April. General contractor Roger Hickel Contracting conducted civil site and foundation work, with employment between twelve to twenty-four workers at a time. Roger Hickel Contracting says the facility is expected to be complete in October. Engineers involved in the project were Franklin & Associates, Fergusson & Associates, and DOWL.

The Kings Landing at Ship Creek Phase II project was awarded to Davis Constructors and Engineers, Inc. for $1.9 million. According to the Municipality of Anchorage, the project consists of a 7,000 square-foot plaza with decorative paving and 3,100 square feet of concrete pavers; concrete walls with a wooden boardwalk; restroom building; 15,000 square-foot asphalt parking lot; and electrical and landscaping work.

Around Town

Milepost 1 to 3.5 of the Chester Creek Trail in Anchorage will see improvements this summer. Davis Constructors was awarded $1.4 million to improve 3.5 miles of the main trail corridor from Arctic Boulevard tunnel to Nichols Street and to repair spurs along the trail. The project began in May and is expected to last until October, according to the Municipality of Anchorage.

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Wells Fargo Sports Complex will see improvements this year. Davis Constructors was awarded the $6.6 million contract that incorporates replacing the existing ice plant and ice rink; refurbishing the existing air handler unit; fire alarm system upgrades; electrical system upgrades; and remodel of interior offices, locker rooms, and fitness spaces. Construction began in May and will be complete in mid-September, according to UAA.

Construction of the UAA Engineering and Industry Building at the corner of Providence Drive and Spirit Drive is expected to be completed in the fall, according to UAA. Neeser Construction, Inc. is the general contractor on the $78.3 million project.


The UAA Health Campus Pedestrian Bridge over Providence Drive connecting the Engineering and Industry Building with the Health Sciences building will be completed by the end of the month. Neeser Construction, Inc. was the general contractor for the $6.1 million project.

The UAA School of Engineering four-story, 485-space parking structure is under construction at the corner of Mallard Drive and UAA Drive. The $23 million project will be completed in the fall and opened to parking in August 2016. Neeser Construction, Inc. is the general contractor for the post-tensioned concrete parking garage project.

The Anchorage Fire Department broke ground on two new Anchorage fire stations, Fire Station 3 in Airport Heights in May and Fire Station 9 in South Anchorage this month. The new Fire Station 3 will enable faster response times, additional privacy, and improved living areas for firefighters and additional space for apparatus and storage. SR Bales Construction is the general contractor and the station was designed by Burkhart Croft Architects. Station 3 upgrades are funded by an appropriation from the Alaska State Legislature, and supplemented with funding from a municipal bond.

School Sampler

The Anchorage School District is seeing many changes this year to area-wide schools.

In East Anchorage, the Airport Heights Elementary School addition and remodel, spanning about sixty-five thousand square feet, began in May. The addition and remodel includes hazardous materials abatement, structural upgrades, new roof and upgraded exterior finishes, new mechanical and electrical systems, demolition of a portion of the existing school, and the addition for a new kitchen, library, and music areas. Watterson says peak employment will be at fifty workers for the $16.7 million contract.

Construction of the secured exterior construction area and upgrade to the technology lab at Begich Middle School began this month, according to the Anchorage School District. Cornerstone expects to complete this $527,000 contract in October.

A $1.9 million contract will see civil site upgrades at Wonder Park Elementary in East Anchorage. General contractor Roger Hickel Contracting began the project in May, and will complete it three months later in August. Workers ranged between six to twelve workers during the life of the project, according to Roger Hickel Contracting.

The $678,000 contract to remodel and upgrade the exterior of Bayshore Elementary in Anchorage will be completed by Roger Hickel Contracting. Designed by RIM Architects, the renovations will see twelve workers at peak construction. The Anchorage School District project began in May and is slated to be finished in August.

The new Rilke Schule German School of Arts and Science building, located on East 64th Avenue near Burlwood Street, had seen great progress since Criterion General began in February. In May foundation footings and slab on grade had been formed, poured, and stripped; steel erection began; and framing, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing had also proceeded. Pfeffer Development says the school is on schedule to open in September.

West High School and Romig Middle School are seeing improvements through a $15 million contract with Cornerstone General Contractors. The project will improve one classroom and add three additional classrooms to Romig Middle School and connect a twelve-classroom, two-story building to West High School. The Anchorage School District project began September 2014 and will be complete in December.

The Girdwood K-8 School addition and remodel began in May 2014. The $18.5 million contract awarded to Watterson Construction will cover about sixty-five thousand square feet. Work on the addition is nearing completion with site work and the remodel of a portion of the existing school scheduled this summer, and the project slated to be finished in August. Watterson says more than forty workers are currently employed to this project.

Outside Anchorage

Outside of the Municipality of Anchorage, projects totaling hundreds of millions of dollars in new construction and improvements are occurring throughout the Southcentral region.

Highway improvements are happening all along the Railbelt this year, but the Parks Highway will see major improvements this season. Parks Highway Reconstruction Phase I, from milepost 43.5 to 44.5, between Lucus Road and Church Road in Wasilla, will see a $16 million improvement in lighting and pedestrian pathways. QAP Construction began in spring 2014 and will wrap up this year, according to ADOT&PF Central Region.

Parks Highway Reconstruction Phase II, from milepost 44.5 to 48.8, between Church Road and Pittman Road, will upgrade from a two lane road to a four lane divided highway with at-grade intersections spaced every half mile. For this $40 million to $50 million project, existing frontage roads and pedestrian pathways will be improved, lighting will be installed, and a bridge over the Alaska Railroad will be installed. The project began in 2015, but ADOT&PF Central Region says it will see the bulk of the construction in 2016.

In Wasilla, Cornerstone General Contractors was awarded the contract to build the new Wasilla Public Library. The twenty-four-thousand-square-foot building will be located at the corner of Swanson Avenue and Crusey Street near Wasilla Middle School. Cornerstone began the $15 million project in April and the City of Wasilla expects the project to be complete in June 2016.

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough broke ground on Iditarod Elementary and Dena'ina Elementary in May. Iditarod Elementary is a fifty-five-thousand-square-foot school that will replace an old building. The construction site of the $25.2 million project is a quarter mile north of the existing school on Wasilla-Fishhook off the corner of Wasilla-Fishhook and Carpenter Circle. Architects are McCool Carlson Green and builders are Collins Construction.

Dena'ina Elementary is a forty-four-thousand-square-foot school on the campus of the new Joe Redington Sr., Jr./Sr. High School. The site of the $26.5 million project is off Knik Goose Bay Road at mile 10. Architects are Bettisworth North Architects and builders are F-E Contracting.

Additionally, Joe Redington Sr., Jr./ Sr. High School is set to be completed by August, and a thirty-three-thousand-square-foot addition to the MatSu Career and Technical High School is set to be completed by the fall, according to the Mat-Su Borough.

In Sutton, Chickaloon Village Traditional Council broke ground on its new health and wellness building in April. The building's name Ahtnahwt'aene' Nay'dini'aa den means "Ahtna People Chickaloon Place." Located at 21117 East Myers Avenue, the new facility will house the community health center and the council's health department. The two-story, 8,100-square-foot building is designed to maximize energy efficiency. It is built with solar panels, a well-insulated structure, and heat recovery ventilators. Construction is slated for completion by December, according to Southcentral Foundation.

One of many projects on the Kenai Peninsula is the Homer City Dock Improvement. It was awarded to Turnagain Marine Construction Corporation on February 3. This $1.22 million project managed by ADOT&PF will reconstruct the fender system and provide a covered pedestrian walkway for ferry passengers. ADOT&PF Southcoast Region says construction is anticipated in fall.

Russ Slaten is an Associate Editor at Alaska Business Monthly.
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Title Annotation:SPECIAL SECTION: Building Alaska
Comment:Statewide construction project roundup: thousands working on projects worth billions.(SPECIAL SECTION: Building Alaska)
Author:Slaten, Russ
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Jun 1, 2015
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