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Time to get Sterling Highway fixed

Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I've been thinking about possible ways that would be effective in getting something done to improve the deplorable condition of the Sterling Highway throughout the Cooper Landing area. It's not only an embarrassment to those of us who reside on the Peninsula, it is also a deadly stretch of road and those departments who are supposed to be in charge of upgrades and maintenance should be ashamed to take any ownership in its condition.

In the last couple of weeks I've spoken with representatives from the offices of Rep. Mike Chenault, Sen. Gary Stevens, Rep. Paul Seaton, Com. Leo VonScheven, Project Manager, Kelly Peterson, State Troopers, Cooper Landing road maintenance personnel and residents. All have expressed frustrations with the continual delays and lack of action from other departments, however nobody offered any encouraging solutions.

With tourism being one of the Peninsula's largest economic generators, isn't it reasonable that DOT, our state representatives, our mayors and other departments involved would take an active role in making the highway into something more than the death trap it is? I don't know how much of our tax dollars have been spent in study after study of alternate routes, bypasses, etc., but it's substantial and those scenerios are just not going to happen in the near future, if ever. In 1973 it was officially recognized and declared that the Cooper Landing section of the road was hazardous. Studies went on through the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and are still going on today, with only minimal patchwork being accomplished.

There are places on that stretch of the road that are impossible to negotiate if two wide vehicles (semi trucks, trailers, large boats, RVs, etc) are approaching each other as they do in a continual stream throughout the spring, summer and fall. Winter, of course has its own separate set of hazards.

It's my understanding that there are plans to improve the guardrails and walking/biking paths "sometime soon," however widening the road and adding shoulders are not included as part of these improvements.

It's time for action! It's time for those of us who have to drive that road to squeak a little louder and place some dynamite sticks where they might be most effective.

Anyone who's with me on this, please yell a little louder!

Penny Little, Soldotna



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