Gary Davis, roads director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, said the next step in the North Road expansion project is to do an environmental impact study, which could cost between $1 million and $2 million.
In 1998, the borough re-ceived a federal grant of about $6 million to expand the road that goes north out of Nikiski. If approved, the study would be paid for with that grant, Davis said at the Nikiski Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday.
The money is earmarked in Washington, D.C., for the project, said Wayne Aderhold, project manager with public works for the borough. He said the borough has to match it by 20 percent.
If the money is not used then it will be returned to the federal government, Davis said.
Since the grant was awarded, public comments and a basic environmental impact study have been conducted, which has used about $500,000 of the grant money, he said. If the needed environmental impact study is conducted, there could be about $3.5 million left, he said.
The next step is to have the borough assembly approve the study, Davis said.
"There's going to be a community discussion" about the expansion, assembly President Gary Superman said at Thursday's luncheon.
He said people need some good information on the status of the project, and he is hopeful the project moves forward but fears too much of the grant money would be used before construction begins.
Davis said there is no time line for moving forward with the project.
Aderhold said the total amount of road to be expanded is 26.5 miles. However, the federal grant would probably only pay for about 6 miles of the project, he said. When impact studies are conducted, he said the entire 26.5 miles must be included in those surveys. That ramps up the preconstruction costs, he said.
In other news, Davis updated the public on the following borough road developments:
He said the borough has received a $5 million federal grant (unrelated to the road expansion grant) that he proposed to be used to primarily pave the busy roads in the borough.
He said the road service area plans to continue to operate on the same budget for road maintenance for the next fiscal year.
The road service area plans to initiate a capital improvement program identifying borough roads to upgrade. That will cost about $1.5 million throughout the borough, he said. That will be paid for with the service area's operating budget, he said.
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