One of the most beautiful sights of an Alaska summer -- to a resident -- is new blacktop.
Although central peninsula road work has been backing up traffic, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities reports progress. Some major projects are nearly done and others are set to begin soon.
Kenai Spur Highway-North Road
Work crews have reached downtown Kenai on the Spur Highway rebuild, causing some lane closures and disruptions at intersections.
"Our electricians are putting in new signals," DOT project engineer Gary Walklin said Friday.
"The next major concentration is in the urban area here."
Crews are installing wiring, curbs, gutters, handicapped access ramps and patterned concrete along road sides. Work at the intersections should wind down in a week, he said.
As of Friday, the bottom layer of pavement had been completed the entire length of the project from Kenai to Mile 22, just north of the industrial plants. For the next month, the crew from Alaska Roadbuilders will be paving, he said.
Other parts of the project under way include top soil placement, seeding, median upgrades and approaches for side roads and driveways.
"We will have lane closures," he said.
Meanwhile, the second phase of the project is set to begin in Nikiski. It will resurface the road from Mile 22 to Mile 29.7 at Halibouty Road. The contract was awarded to Foster Construc-tion on July 12.
DOT has assigned engineer Chuck Swenor to the project.
Although the schedule is pending, Swenor said he expects the work to begin in mid-August.
"It will be completed this year," he said.
Redoubt and Forest Drive in Kenai
Work is done on the upgrade in the residential area on Kenai's north side. The project, which began last year, basically finished at the beginning of July, said DOT project engineer Gary Kobayashi. Crews from Foster Construction have been finishing up some odds and ends such as curb cuts.
Sterling Highway Soldotna Urban Project Phase I
Work in downtown Soldotna is on schedule and nearing completion, DOT project engineer Chuck Swenor said.
"The goal was to have the main line (base pavement) down by July 1. Basically that was done," he said.
Another big part of the project, the drainage basin at the end of Binkley Street near the river, is done except for planting.
Work now is focused on sidewalks and signal wiring.
DOT plans to pave sidewalks and driveways the first week of August. The second week in August, everything should be done except the new light poles, he said.
Those must be special ordered from out of state and are expected to arrive in December.
Motorists can expect intermittent one-lane closures in Soldotna until the project ends in mid-August, Swenor said.
This project, to develop a pedestrian and bicycle trail alongside the Kenai Spur Highway between Kenai and Soldotna, has been postponed, said Rex Young, the DOT's area planner for the Kenai Peninsula.
Permit delays caused DOT to advertise it later than originally planned. It is due to be advertised this week. After a bid is awarded, the contractor will decide if work can begin this year, he said.
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