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Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) - Central Region Projects & Status

Anchorage Area

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PROJECT:

11CR4: Minnesota Drive Moose-Vehicle Crash Mitigation

Description:

Minnesota Drive is a 4-6 lane urban principal arterial in Anchorage and is part of the National Highway System (NHS).  Average daily traffic (ADT) volumes taken on Minnesota Drive south of international Airport Road show an ADT of between 47,000 and 51,000 during the 2004-2008 study period.

This segment was opened to traffic in 1983 as a 4 lane divided highway with a depressed median.  At grade intersections at International Airport Road, Raspberry Road and C Street were replaced by interchanges from 1989-2008.  The project area has been lighted for the entire length of the segment since 1989 and this segment was resurfaced in 2009.  There is presently no fencing along this corridor except for isolated sections of noise fence.

Central Region Moose-Vehicle Collisions Priority List
The segment of Minnesota Drive between the ARRC bridge (MP 0.30) and a point south of Tudor Road (MP 5.1) is ranked the #4 corridor in the state at the 95 percentile threshold on the 2007 Central Region Moose-Vehicle Mitigation Priority List using data from 2001-2005.  The top 5 ranking corridors from this priority listing are:

Rank

Road

From

To

Segment Length (Miles)

Moose-Vehicle crashes per Year (2001-2005 Crash Data)

1

Sterling Hwy

MP 88.1, St Theresa Dr

Kleeb Lp, Spd Lmt 35

5.3

18.6

2

Kenai Spur Rd

Swallow Dr, Soldotna

MP 8, 0.2 mi S of Swires Rd Kenai

4.1

14.0

3

Parks Hwy

0.2 mi S of ARRC Overpass #1922

Silver Fox Inn

3.5

9.6

4

Minnesota Dr

0.15 mi N of Campbell Crk

0.1 mi S of Int'l Airport Overpass

1.8

4.8

5

Glenn Hwy

0.1 mi S of Scalehouse NB Exit

0.1 mi S of Eagle River SB #1341

1.7

4.4

Although there are 3 segments of highway that are ranked higher than the candidate Minnesota drive project, these segments are not on controlled access highway corridors, making them poor candidates for fencing or long-term animal crossing structures due to the numerous side street and driveway approaches that exist in these areas.  However, all segments are being considered for wildlife mitigation as part of future reconstruction projects.

Existing Crash Patterns and Proposed Mitigation:

There were 40 animal-vehicle crashes in the 4.56 miles of 4-6 lane segment of Minnesota Drive, averaging 8 crashes per year during the 2004-2008 study period.  One crash resulted in an incapacitating injury to the occupant, 5 resulted in a non-incapacitating or minor injury to the vehicle occupants, and 34 were property damage only crashes.

The 1.38 mile segment of Minnesota Drive between Dimond Boulevard and Raspberry Road recorded nearly 52% of total moose-vehicle crashes within the study segment or 15.2 crashes per mile during the 2004-2008 study period.  The second highest segment was the 0.88 mile segment between Raspberry Road and International Airport Road recording another 20% or 9.1 crashes per mile during the 2004-2008 time period.

The majority of moose-vehicle crashes (60%) are occurring between the 11 hour period of 7:00 PM and 6:00 AM despite the presence of continuous highway lighting.  The light conditions present at the time of the crash were dark with roadway lighting or unlighted for 75% of these crashes.

Despite the number of nighttime crashes, nearly 68% occurred under dry pavement conditions indicating that drivers were not able to react to the presence of a moose, even though the roadway was dry.
 Nearly 68% of these crashes occurred during the August-November time period as the season, daylight conditions and road conditions are changing into wintertime conditions.  The months where the most crashes occur on the Minnesota Drive corridor are contrary to typical statewide trends as most moose/vehicle crashes in this area are in the fall during migration and the rutting period.  Statewide crashes involving moose tend to peak in the darkest midwinter months where moose/vehicle crashes on Minnesota Drive in August through October.

Historic crashes have also risen since this portion of Minnesota Drive was opened to traffic in 1983.  The following graph depicts the trend in both moose-vehicle crashes and average daily traffic volumes.

Click for larger view

As shown on the previous graph, moose-vehicle crashes are generally on the rise on this segment of Minnesota Drive despite the presence of highway lighting.  Because moose-vehicle crashes persist on this segment of Minnesota Drive, these crashes and their crash circumstances are considered subject to mitigation through the installation of moose fencing. 

Proposed Mitigation
Based on the crash data discussed above, an HSIP candidate is being nominated for moose-vehicle collision mitigation on Minnesota Drive between the Old Seward Highway and International Airport Road to:

  • Install approximately 9 miles (47,900 linear feet) of 9 foot high, woven wire mesh (WWM) moose fencing.  (A total of 4.5 miles on either side of Minnesota Drive between the ARRC overpass at MP 0.20 and International Airport Road at MP 4.75)
  • Install Moose gates at selected locations along Minnesota Drive to allow moose inside the fence to escape.

This project is scheduled for construction in 2013.

Project Contact:

Kevin Jackson 
Alaska State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities(ADOT&PF)
(907) 269-0641

kevin.jackson@alaska.govsend mail