If you spend time in Haines, it’s likely you’ve seen the work out the highway… or followed a pilot car through the construction. That’s actually two road projects that Southeast Roadbuilders and SECON aim to finish up this season.
Construction spending is projected to be up ten percent statewide this year. All those yellow vests out the Haines Highway are part of $682 million in state road building spending in Alaska this year.
The Haines Highway Reconstruction is a public project, funded mostly by the federal government with some contributions from the state of Alaska. The 2-season 4-12 mile project is worth $36 million dollars; the smaller, 0-4 mile project is worth $6 million. The aim of the project is to widen and straighten the road so that it’s safe for travelers going 55 mph.
Project Engineer Bryce Iverson says both the 0-4 mile and 4-12 mile projects should be finished up before winter. SECON and Southeast Roadbuilders are sister companies whose parent company is Colaska. Their work season runs from April to October. The 4-12 mile project began in 2018 and the 0-4 mile project began this year.
Iverson says between both projects on any given day there are about 70 workers. More than half of those are Haines locals. He says about 20 are from elsewhere in Alaska and about ten are from out of state. The workers who aren’t from Haines end up spending locally on food and lodging. He estimates it will add up to about $800,000 over the duration of the project.