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Rhines Road residents wary of improvements

Posted: July 21, 2014 - 8:23pm  |  Updated: July 21, 2014 - 8:40pm

This construction season, Rhines, Fishermans and Capryl roads in North Kenai made it to the top of the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s list for road improvements.

However, property owners on Rhines Road are concerned about the current construction and its potential impacts.

Rhines Road resident George Kucinic said the project doesn’t make sense to anyone in the neighborhood.

“I don’t think it will do anything better for us,” he said. “I think it will make it more miserable for us.”

Henry Knackstedt, borough road services area engineer, met with about one dozen Rhines Road residents in the sunshine Thursday to discuss the project, which will bring the road up to borough standards. That includes widening the road, shallow ditching on both sides and raising the road 1 foot. The project has been on the borough’s to-do list prior to 2011, he said.

He said all the construction is being done within the borough’s right-of-way and is not taking away frontage from any property owners.

“We don’t want to impact you folks more than necessary,” Knackstedt said to property owners.

One couple, Mike and Tina Lohry, is concerned about the proximity the widened road with will have with their 18-year-old septic system, which has never failed.

While Knackstedt said the ditching won’t have an impact on the Lohry’s septic system, Tina Lohry said if it fails as soon as the road is done, it’s the project’s fault.

Residents also expressed concerns about tree removal for the increased road width. Knackstedt said the borough tries to keep as many trees as possible, but opening the right-of-way will allow for sunlight to get in the area and help with snow melt during breakup.

The ditches will also provide additional space for snow removal, Knackstedt said.

Kucinic is concerned the project will lead to flooding in his daylight basement.

“My main concern is by lifting the road, (it) will be higher than our properties,” Kucinic said.

Knackstedt said the ditches will be comparable to shallow swales that will take the water. At the low point, drainage galleries will capture water, hold it and dissipate the water down into the ground; it won’t find its way into homes.

The project cost for the Rhines Road portion is $76,500. The improvements to Rhines are being done in conjunction with Fishermans Road and Capryl Road for a total of 3,400 feet of road improvements at about $168,000.

 

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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