Flurry of Kenai Peninsula road projects planned

Posted: Tuesday, April 02, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- Work beginning this summer on a host of road and trail projects in the Kenai Peninsula is expected to bring millions in state and federal funds to the local economy.

Drivers can expect some delays, but the worst will likely occur at night when traffic is down, said Murph O'Brien, assistant director of the Alaska Department of Transportation's Central Division.

For many of the projects, there will be periods of time when traffic is reduced to single-lane flow, with motorists either flagged through one lane at a time or led through the construction zone by a pilot vehicle, O'Brien told the Peninsula Clarion.

Following are the major projects scheduled for this building season, beginning with a portion of the Seward Highway not actually on the peninsula:

-- A two-mile section of the Seward Highway at Bird Flat is prone to closure from avalanches. The highway and the Alaska Railroad rail bed will be moved about 65 feet toward the water and the old road bed will be raised, creating a berm that will block sliding snow.

-- The Seward Highway from Mile 0 to 8 at Seward is scheduled for reconditioning and repaving, but not all the work will occur this summer. The project includes trail construction out to Timber Lane, expansion of the highway grade and bridges in the Resurrection River area to provide better flood control, and a railroad crossing to be built at Stony Creek Avenue.

-- Hope Road, a 16-mile stretch connecting the remote north peninsula town to the Sterling Highway, will get a $4 million facelift starting in late July or early August.

-- In the central peninsula, a major trail project gets under way. Alaska Road Builders has been awarded the contract to build the Kenai Spur Unity Trail and the Soldotna School Trail, at a cost of roughly $2.2 million. The Unity Trail will connect Kenai and Soldotna along the Kenai Spur Highway.

-- A good deal of DOT work is scheduled to begin near Homer. One project aims to rebuild two state roads, Bartlett and Hohe streets, and turn them over to the city of Homer. The roads provide access to South Peninsula Hospital.

However, negotiations on utility agreements are still under way and bid advertising isn't expected to happen before September, making it likely little will actually be done this summer.

-- The largest project will be the reconstruction of East End Road from the Pioneer Avenue and Lake Street intersection in downtown Homer at Mile 0 to Mile 3.75, near the intersection of East End Road and Kachemak Drive.

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