DOT and Kenai Council talk Beaver Loop Road project

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities met Tuesday with Kenai City Council to discuss the proposed multi-million dollar Beaver Loop Road project that may affect more than 100 area properties.

The project proposes widening the road’s shoulders, possibly raising the surface of the roadway, constructing a pathway separated from the road, replacing culverts, reconstructing ditches and increasing the speed limit to 50 miles per hour, according to a DOT&PF project document dated Sept. 9.

The project is estimated to cost between $16.2 million and $18.7 million, according to the document.

The Federal Highway Administration will fund 90 percent of the project, and the city of Kenai will fund the remaining 10 percent, DOT&PF area planner Joselyn Biloon said.

Kenai City Manager Rick Koch said the project comes with challenges. Many utilities — such as overhead and underground electric, telecommunications, natural gas, sewer, water — lie or hang within construction limits, according to the project document.

“Some utilities you can build roads over,” Koch said; “some you can’t.” Those than can’t be built over will be relocated, according to the project document.

There are 110 properties that sit adjacent to the construction corridor, according to the project document. A narrower road, right of ways and pathways will impact less properties, DOT&PF Project Manager Gerry Welsh said. But at the project’s current phase, Welsh said it is uncertain how many properties exactly will be affected.

“It’s a common component of roadway improvements,” he said.

DOT&PF is seeking environmental clearance for the project, and the department expects acceptance by the end of 2014, he said. Barring complications, he said, construction is to begin in 2018.

Comments on the roadway improvements may be submitted to the project’s DOT&PF project manager, Tom Schmid, at tom.schmid@alaska.gov or 907-269-0543.

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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