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DOT and Kenai Council talk Beaver Loop Road project

Posted: September 12, 2013 - 8:34pm  |  Updated: September 12, 2013 - 8:46pm

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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granny
169
Points
granny 09/13/13 - 05:32 pm
1
0
It was pretty clear at that

It was pretty clear at that meeting that the people most effected by this project have not been involved to this point, and by no fault of their own. The city submitted a plan to DOT without first consulting residents. This is not atypical of how business is done in Kenai, and it needs to change! People have a lot invested emotionally and economically in their homes, and that should be respected more than it is.
The ex-city planner was justifying commercialization of Beaver Loop about a year ago at this time as part of the new comprehensive plan. The Beaver Loop residents pushed back and the commercialization was dropped, for now. But the planner made it pretty clear the issue would come back as part of the road upgrade.
I didn't hear any residents saying they wanted to increase the speed and volume of traffic on Beaver Loop, quite the opposite. They just want the darn road fixed!! Mark Schrag

KMarx
181
Points
KMarx 09/13/13 - 09:12 pm
0
2
Mark, give it a rest

There was no discussion about increasing the speed limit on the road at the meeting. The Clarion reporter wasn't even there. No one at the City is pushing commercialization of Beaver Loop, the planning and zoning commission considered the idea during the comprehensive plan process and eliminated it from the plan, just as the commission did with many other suggestions/ideas. DOT and the City both told people at the work session that DOT had just begun the design process and that changes would occur. The City undertook the project so that the road would be fixed. You're really a one-trick pony, and a blatantly dishonest one at that.

granny
169
Points
granny 09/13/13 - 10:53 pm
0
0
I turn that trick with pride,

I turn that trick with pride, and I stand by what I wrote. Mark

beaverlooper
3132
Points
beaverlooper 09/15/13 - 01:06 pm
0
0
I don't know

I don't know why a separated bike pathway is really needed. It could be done like it is on bridge access road along where the canneries are,use the 4' paved shoulders as the bike paths. It would be cheaper,maintenance and snow removal would be easier and more affordable,fewer utilities would have to be relocated and eminent domain wouldn't be brought to play.
I do like the city taking over the road,it would get plowed MUCH quicker,especially after a big snow.

KMarx
181
Points
KMarx 09/18/13 - 10:03 pm
0
1
Hey Mark Schrag, you old trick turner

Did you see in today's Clarion they printed a retraction about an increased speed limit on Beaver Loop? They said there would be no increase, and that the City was not going to have to provide any funding for the project.
How long you planning on standing by what you said? It must be a little embarrassing to let your hatred of all things City Hall be contradicted by the truth.

kksalm
238
Points
kksalm 09/18/13 - 11:05 pm
0
0
Getting back to the question of speed limit

I think the speed limit on Beaver Loop should be reduced to 40 mph. The road shouldn't be fixed. Reduce the speed limit instead!

Have a wonderful day!

laurasievert
60
Points
laurasievert 09/19/13 - 06:35 pm
0
0
I attended the meeting and

I attended the meeting and the engineer from the state DID say that the speed limit would be increased to 50 mph, though there was no discussion about it. I do not know why the Clarion retracted that in yesterday’s edition.

Many people that live on Beaver Loop live very close to the road. It would seem to make sense to make this project as compact and economical as possible. The City has suggested 4-foot shoulders as well as a separate bike/pedestrian path. That’s a big, expensive project that will necessitate moving utilities and acquiring property. I am in favor of a separate bike path because of the heavy bike and pedestrian traffic on the road. Four-foot shoulders are not needed. I agree with a 40 mph speed limit.

There are at least 50 single-family houses right on Beaver Loop. As a long time resident, I say that we have reason to be alert and even suspicious at times. There have been many attempts to change Beaver Loop from residential to industrial and / or commercial.

corinnep
288
Points
corinnep 09/21/13 - 02:32 pm
0
0
KMarx = City Employee?

KMarx's comments read like they come from a City employee.

Anonymously attacking a City Council candidate (Mark Schrag) right before the election?
Not cool.

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