JUNEAU (AP) A Juneau Assembly committee is supporting a project proposed by the Department of Transportation to ease traffic congestion on the Douglas Bridge.
The project would remove bicycle lanes on the bridge to make room for a reversible center lane for vehicles. The lane would run one way from Douglas to Juneau during the morning rush hour and in the opposite direction for the rest of the day.
The project also would widen the intersection of 10th Street and Egan Drive and add a traffic circle to route vehicles on the Douglas side of the bridge.
Bicycling advocates oppose the project because bike lanes on either side of the bridge would be removed to make room for the reversible middle lane.
The project was approved by the Planning Commission in December, but the decision was appealed by the Juneau Freewheelers Bicycle Club on the grounds that it does not comply with the city's Non-motorized Transportation Plan.
That plan requires 14-foot-wide lanes for shared use by motor vehicles and cyclists. DOT's redesign of the structure would have created an 11 1/2-foot lane on the east side of the bridge, a 10-foot reversible center lane and a 12-foot lane on the west side.
Last week, the Public Works and Planning Committee voted to recommend that the full Assembly approve the project. Committee member Marc Wheeler cast the only no vote, citing many of the same arguments posed by the Freewheelers.
''What they have presented doesn't comply with the Non-motorized Transportation Plan,'' Wheeler said. ''I think we should be getting more access for bikes in Juneau, not less.''
Chris Morrow, a project planner for the Department of Transportation, acknowledged the projections might not be perfect, but said DOT expects traffic volumes near the bridge to increase 35 percent by 2022.
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