Kenai Peninsula motorists will be greeted this summer with numerous traffic and road improvement projects, as crews under contract with the Alaska Department of Transportation will be working in various locations.
In all, crews will work on about 11 projects of various sizes on the Seward, Sterling and Kenai Spur highways as well as Kalifornsky Beach Road, said Tom Dougherty, construction crew chief for DOT’s central region.
“From a construction standpoint, this is a pretty heavy load for us,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of paving all over our region, so it is going to be a pretty challenging season.”
Rick Feller, DOT spokesman, urged drivers to slow down and use caution while navigating through the various projects as state and local authorities heavily enforce construction areas, and traffic fines are double in work zones.
“On approach to a work zone, folks really need to pay very close attention to signage, speed reductions, any cautions and pay attention to any flaggers or operations that are underway,” Feller said. “Each work zone is designed to maximize safety to both the work crew and the drivers. If those zones, and the provisions within each are respected, it is going to be a great season for everyone.”
In Homer, crews will be working on the Sterling Highway from mile 173 to 150. Pioneer Drive marks the start of the 23 miles of resurfacing that will start in late May and continue through September, Dougherty said.
“We won’t have closures, but we will have single lane during off-peak hours,” he said. “We are not letting them work on the weekends.”
In Cooper Landing, crews will replace 90 culverts along the Sterling Highway, redo the roadway and resurface the pavement from mile 58 to 45, which is through the main stretch of town, Dougherty said.
“This’ll be a rough one for us,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty said the project is going to be somewhat disruptive to traffic and once they are past Memorial Day, crews won’t be working during peak hours, which is noon on Friday through Sunday. The project will start next week and go through late September, but crews will not work during July as Dougherty said the traffic is too bad.
Also on the Sterling Highway, crews will be striping and installing rumble strips from mile 45 to 37, which is the area near Tern Lake to Sunset. That work should conclude in late May or early June, he said.
On the Seward Highway, crews will be resurfacing road from mile 17 to 20, which is from Snow River to Ptarmigan Creek. That project has not yet been awarded to a contractor, but Dougherty said construction should start in July.
From mile 22 to 26 — Ptarmigan Creek to Moose Pass — crews will place a top layer of asphalt over three bridges that were replaced there last year, Dougherty said. That work should be done by the end of June, he said.
“It should be very little impact this year,” he said. “We already have traffic on all three bridges.”
Also on the Seward Highway from mid-May through September will be:
■ Installation of seven road features, such as passing lanes or car pull outs, from mile 68 to 114, which is from the top of Turnagain Pass to Potter.
■ Reconstruction of a curve at mile 88 near Girdwood.
■ Striping and rumble strips from mile 90 to 96.
“We should have minimal traffic disruption,” Dougherty said. “The one that might have the most traffic disruption is mile 88 with that curve, but still we are not having any closures; we’re just doing lane restrictions.”
On Kalifornsky Beach Road, crews will be paving and striping the section of road washed out by flooding at mile 11 last summer.
Crews will also be doing temporary resurfacing and striping on K-Beach Road from mile 16 to 22 — from Bridge Access Road into Soldotna, Dougherty said.
“Right now we are just trying to take care of the rutting in the short term,” he said. “... This is just more of a smoothing out the roadway to get us another couple of years until the major job comes along.”
That project is set to start as soon as weather allows and should be done by the end of May, Dougherty said.
Crews will also be resurfacing the Kenai Spur Highway from its start at the Soldotna “Y” to mile 3. That work has yet to be contracted, but should start in late July, he said.
Motorists can stay up to date with road construction by logging on to alaskanavigator.org.
Brian Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.