What Changes Do You Want When Bethel's Highway Gets Resurfaced?

Mar 12, 2018

A van drives over a warped section of road on Bethel's Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway near Watson's Corner on March 12, 2018.
Credit Dean Swope / KYUK

Next summer Bethel’s Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway will be upgraded, and here's your chance to let the state know how they could make the road better.

The road was last resurfaced in 2006. Since then, bumps and potholes have warped the highway, and the pounding of ice, rain, and heavy trucks have taken their toll.

The state has done sporadic maintenance on an as-needed basis, but in the summer of 2019, the highway will get an overhaul. That means laying new pavement, evening out bumps, improving drainage, and even updating curb ramps at Watson’s Corner to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Areas where melting permafrost has warped the surface will get special attention.

“We’re going to go in and put in a little better structural section in," said Alaska Department of Transportation Project Manager Aaron Hughes. "We’ll go down several feet and build that structural section back up.”

But this will only be done for the worst areas. Federal regulations limit restructuring to a quarter of the project. Anything more would go beyond the scope of preventive maintenance.

“We’re not trying to change any of the design. We’re just trying to get another five to 10 years of useful service life out of the road," Hughes said.

To do that they want to hear from you, the people who are using it. Given the limitations, what improvements do you want to see?

Comments can be emailed to Aaron Hughes at or mailed to: 

Brian Elliott, Regional Environmental Manager
DOT&PF Preliminary Design & Environmental
P.O. Box 196900
Anchorage, Alaska 99519-6900

You can also tell the Department of Transportation in person during an Open House on the project scheduled in Bethel this spring. The date will be announced soon.