Seward Highway Safety Summit held in Anchorage

State officials are holding a Seward Highway Safety Summit today in Anchorage. The summit is the next step in gathering a group of stakeholders to advocate for a safer highway from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula.

The summit is from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Z.J. Loussac Public Library’s assembly chambers. All who travel the Seward Highway are invited.

In April 2012, Girdwood 2020, the primary facilitator of the Seward/Kenai Peninsula Transportation Corridor Safety Initiative, and Sen. Mark Begich sponsored an initial summit in Soldotna.

Since then, the Kenai City Council passed a resolution supporting safety improvements to the Sterling and Seward highways.

Also, a Kenai Peninsula Borough resolution was introduced and unanimously passed with the help of Kenai Mayor Pat Porter, according to Girdwood 2020.

The resolutions recognize the highways as among the most critical and heavily traveled roadways in the state, and attribute geography, weather and current roadway configurations to their danger.

The previous timeline for forming a group of stakeholders was the end of May.

And although the initial stakeholders who attended the April summit echoed support for improving the highways, some attendees voiced concern about the effectiveness of the plan.

Patrick Kemp, deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Highways & Public Facilities, said Gov. Sean Parnell was uncertain whether this new initiative would align with the DOT’s own projects.

The DOT is currently focusing on a project to develop a clear vision for the highway segment from Anchorage to Seward. Their Seward Highway Corridor Study doesn’t include other highways on the Peninsula.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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