Prep work continues on the long-anticipated Cooper Landing Bypass project. The upfront work began this fall with the first of five phases. The project will work from either end, at mileposts 45 and 60, and in toward the middle.
At a recent public meeting in Cooper Landing, project manager Sean Holland said even the first phase is being broken down into several different steps, as the final design hasn’t yet been finished.
“We’ve kind of already broken phase one up into three smaller phases. We call the west phase 1A, the east phase 1B and then we’re going to have an early work package on the new alignment which is going to include clearing a 200 foot path through most of that. The idea is that we need to get up there for more data collection before we can finalize our design, we need to get up there and drill and find out what kind of geology we have subsurface.”
That work was started last month. Crews put up wildlife cameras to document crossings that will be in the path of the new highway. Five crossings, similar to the ones installed closer to Sterling last year will be included for moose and bear. Matt Stone is another project manager for DOT. He says the middle section will demand the heaviest work, with the new road bed being carved into the landscape.
“There are significant rock cuts in this section of the road. Some of these rock cuts may be over 100 feet tall. We’re generating, I think, over a million yards of material in this section. There’s almost 8/10 of a mile of retaining wall. A lot of the retaining wall is on the south side, the lake side of the road, and a lot of that is to allow the pathway to fit in that narrow, constricted space.”
In the coming weeks and into the first part of 2020, 65% of the design for the first phase is expected to be finished. Other preliminary work gather hydrodrology data will also be done. Another public meeting is scheduled for December 17th.