The days are numbered for the dust, washboard and potholes that bedevil drivers on Soldotna's East Redoubt Avenue.
Tuesday, the city of Soldotna plans to give Alaska RoadBuilders a formal "notice to proceed" with the first phase of a multi-year project to upgrade and eventually pave the road.
Conditions on East Redoubt, the largest unpaved road in the town, have been an aggravation for residents and city maintenance workers, Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker told the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday.
"This has been the year of complaints," he said.
The combination of rain and speeding traffic has trashed the road. The water softens the surface, and the heavy traffic, especially by cars exceeding the posted speed limit, beats it out of shape, despite frequent grading, he said.
"If people drove at 25 mph, it would not deteriorate," he said.
East Redoubt consumes a disproportionately large amount of Soldotna's overall road maintenance costs, said Cathy Ottinger, the city's maintenance supervisor.
"East Redoubt seems to be the most excessively used. We spend a lot of time maintaining it, and it still doesn't get done the way it should," she said.
The road upgrade this summer is scheduled for late summer and fall to avoid the peak of the fishing season on the Kenai River.
"The entire stretch will be under construction for the next several months," Boedeker said. "The people who want the road improved will have to live with some inconveniences."
Survey crews will be on the road starting this week, with earthwork planned from the Sterling Highway to Keystone Drive.
Motorists may need to take detours and, if road closures are needed, the public will be notified in advance, said Kathy Jewell, office manager at Alaska RoadBuilders.
Next year, the phase one project will conclude with final grading and paving from the highway about half a mile up the road to the entrance of Swiftwater Park. The contract cost is about $710,000.
Boedeker said city officials are optimistic that they will obtain more funding to extend the pavement in future years.
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