Parade moved to Galena Street for Gold Rush Days
Road construction woes spur move from its traditional route
Valdez Star photo
The Hoosegow - the beloved trailer replicating an old fashioned jail - was hemmed in by construction equipment Monday in the days before Gold Rush Days.
Everyone loves a parade - and organizers for Gold Rush Days want everyone to know where to see this year's spectacle.
The grand parade that marks the end of Gold Rush Days will promenade down Galena Street this year according to organizers.
"The gold rush parade for 2016 has been moved to Galena Street due to construction on Egan Avenue," said Sarah Irwin-Goudreau.
Event organizers have been working double-time in the days leading up to the five-day event that - along with the rest of the people in Valdez - have struggled to go about their usual business while working around the main road construction projects.
Sunday's parade will still begin staging on W. Egan Street, near the tank farm, where the parade normally begins. However, instead of heading straight down Egan - which is often referred to as Main Street - participants will veer right down Hazelet and turn again down Galena Street, where the traditional bandstand and areas for viewing the parade will be located.
Organizers of the parade were anxious to let people in Valdez know the parade was being rerouted. Late last week, mailers arrived in post office boxes throughout town listing the traditional - and unfortunately incorrect - street.
On Monday, construction workers poured concrete on the corner of Egan and Tatitlek Streets, hemming in one of the event's more iconic symbols, the bright red Hoosegow.
Crews were expected to be clear of the area later this week, making way for the various Gold Rush Days activities that begin today (Wednesday, Aug. 3.)
This week, crews began working on the intersection of Meals and Pioneer Streets, cutting off one of the town's major intersections and causing motorists and pedestrians alike to find detours around the road work.
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
"The intersection of Pioneer and Meals will be open for Gold Rush Days," Allie Ferko said.
Ferko, the city's deputy clerk and public information officer, said in a telephonic interview Tuesday that while work will continue on the intersection through Thursday, it will be re-opened before the weekend - and before it can be repaved.
"It will be reopened Friday through the weekend," she said.
The section of Pioneer Drive, which has been under reconstruction since the summer building season began, will be repaved within the next two weeks according to Ferko.
Valdez Star photo
A parade of vehicles was held up on Egan Dr. last week while construction crews resurfaced portions of the Richardson Highway for a second time.
Weather, as always, plays a major roll in timeframes set for construction in Valdez.
"Then that portion of the construction will be done," Ferko said.
The City of Valdez is in charge of the Pioneer Dr. project, as it is a city-maintained road.
The resurfacing project down Egan Dr and up the Richardson Highway is a project headed by the Alaska Dept. of Transportation.
Several sections of the recently resurfaced highway had to be redone last week, which caused serious traffic delays in the core downtown area of Valdez.