Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is Seward to Glenn Connection PEL Study?
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF), Central Region, is conducting a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study to identify and evaluate options to improve transportation mobility, safety, access, and connectivity between the Seward Highway, near 20th Avenue, to the Glenn Highway, east of Airport Heights. Currently, the two controlled-access freeways are connected through the study area by slower speed arterial roads. The project will also identify ways to improve access between the Port of Alaska and the highway network. The PEL Study process gives DOT&PF an opportunity to engage the community and stakeholders in identifying transportation needs and developing and narrowing down alternatives that can be carried into future environmental review and design.
2. Who is conducting the Study?
The study is being managed by DOT&PF in cooperation with the Anchorage Metropolitan Area Transportation Solutions (AMATS) staff. AMATS is the Metropolitan Planning Organization responsible for transportation planning for the Anchorage Bowl and Chugiak-Eagle River areas.
3. What are the limits of the study area?
The study area generally follows Bragaw Street on the east, Chester Creek on the south, C Street on the west, and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on the north. It includes areas where potential transportation improvements could be developed between the Glenn and Seward Highways and to and from the Port of Alaska. The study area is broad enough to also gauge how traffic levels on parallel routes may be affected.
General Project Area
4. What is a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study?
The study is being prepared as a PEL Study. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a PEL Study represents a collaborative and integrated approach to transportation decision-making that (1) considers environmental, community, and economic goals early in the transportation planning process; and (2) uses the information, analysis, and products developed during planning to inform the environmental review process. See more at: Planning and Environment Linkages | Environmental Initiatives | Environmental Review Toolkit | FHWA (dot.gov). Learn more about the PEL process in this downloadable handout.
5. What are the potential benefits a PEL Study?
The PEL process aids the transportation decision-making process. The PEL Study will:
- Identify potential benefits and impacts to communities, the environment, and the economy early in the planning stage, making the project more efficient and cost-effective.
- Engage partner agencies, stakeholders, and the public, building project awareness and support through transparent and consistent communication.
- Provide opportunities early and often for the public to provide input that shapes the project.
- Narrow down the range of project alternatives to carry into future environmental review, design work, and construction project steps.
- Produce better environmental outcomes.
- Facilitate better decision-making.
- Accelerate project delivery during subsequent environmental approvals.
Learn more about the PEL process in this downloadable handout.
6. What is the PEL Study schedule?
The PEL Study process began in June 2021 and is expected to take about 36 months, finishing in 2024 .
7. What is the study’s background?
Connecting the Seward Highway to the Glenn Highway was discussed as early as 1972 in the Anchorage Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).
In 2001, AMATS conducted the East Anchorage Study of Transportation. It determined that connecting the Seward and Glenn Highways was important to solving traffic congestion in the Anchorage Bowl.
In 2005, the Seward Highway to Glenn Highway Connection (H2H) project was adopted as part of the Anchorage Bowl 2025 LRTP. DOT&PF started an environmental impact statement (EIS) process for the H2H project, but the EIS was canceled in 2010.
In 2020, recognizing the continuing need to address transportation in this corridor, DOT&PF adopted the PEL Study as part of the AMATS Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) 2040.
8. Where did the idea for this PEL Study come from?
The PEL Study is identified in MTP 2040, the adopted MTP for Anchorage. The plan indicates that the study’s intent is to define a vision for a potential future highway connection, identify environmental and resource concerns and opportunities in the study area, and use the information to develop reasonable alternatives through consultation with the affected agencies and the public. This PEL Study is officially titled the Seward Highway to Glenn Highway Planning and Environmental Linkages Study (IRIS Program No. CFHWY00550 | Federal Project No. 0001653).
9. Didn’t you already study this project in the H2H EIS? Why are you studying it again?
DOT&PF started an EIS for the H2H project, but it was canceled in 2010. Connecting the Seward and Glenn Highways remains a priority in the AMATS MTP 2040. In a previous PEL Study (Midtown Congestion Relief PEL), DOT&PF re-evaluated the Midtown section of the H2H project along the Seward Highway (between Tudor Road and 20th Avenue). This current PEL Study will examine the area from 20th Avenue to Airport Heights Drive. Considerable time has gone by since 2010, when the need for connecting the Seward and Glenn Highways was last studied in detail. This study will re-examine the corridor’s transportation needs by looking at new traffic forecasts and new origin-destination travel studies and will examine potential alternatives and their impacts.
10. What has changed in the area since highway mobility needs and alternatives were last studied in detail?
When the project area was last studied in detail, the Knik Arm Crossing project and a viaduct roadway connecting Gambell/Ingra to the Port of Alaska were still in the adopted transportation plan. Since then, economic conditions such as the ongoing recession are vastly different, and growth and land use development patterns are now subject to a newly adopted land use plan map. For these reasons, traffic patterns and congestion levels are anticipated to be different from those studied in 2010. It is important to re-examine the transportation needs in light of these changes to ensure that the improvements are addressing the existing needs.
11. What problems will the study examine?
The study is intended to address safety, congestion, access, connectivity, and freight needs on the Seward and Glenn Highways and to the Port of Alaska within the study area. To accomplish this, the project team will conduct planning and environmental studies, perform traffic forecasting and travel demand modeling, and document purpose and needs for any transportation improvements. Alternatives will be developed to address identified problems based on engineering analysis. As a PEL Study, the effort will integrate community and environmental factors into the decision-making process, with a strong emphasis on public involvement.
12. How will the study be used?
Once the final PEL Study is complete, a project (or components of the overall plan) may move forward for additional environmental review and engineering design through the National Environmental Policy Act process. The results of the study may also feed into a subsequent update of the MTP 2040, potentially updating needed improvements, cost estimates, and timing and phasing of improvements.
13. How will the project team engage stakeholders and the public in the PEL process?
Feedback from the community and stakeholders is required by the PEL Study process and is central to the development of design alternatives. The project team will provide opportunities at each stage of the process for the public to learn about the study and provide input. See the image below for the main outreach methods we will use.
The process will involve many individuals and groups to inform the study, develop and screen alternatives, and review the Draft PEL Study Report. This includes agencies, Tribes, elected officials, utilities, emergency responders, businesses, nonprofits, community organizations, and the public.
We are committed to conducting a process that is equitable and responsive to the needs of traditionally underserved communities. This means:
- Providing accessible, inclusive, and convenient opportunities to engage.
- Reaching out to and integrating feedback from individuals and groups that are traditionally underserved and underrepresented by existing transportation systems.
- Communicating with the public regarding the feedback we have received.
14. How can I get involved?
Your input is important. Stay updated and share your thoughts by:
If you have questions, please reach out anytime to the project team at: