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Road money on the way

Assembly to appropriate $1 million in capital funds

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2007

Four borough road improvement projects will share more than $1 million in state capital funds once an ordinance accepting and appropriating the money winds its way through the borough legislative process.

Ordinance 2007-19-20 will be introduced at Tuesday's Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting in Soldotna. It includes four state grants totaling $1,075,000 earmarked for work on roads included in the borough's 2007 Legislative Priorities list.

The money was included in Senate Bill 53, the capital budget signed into law by Gov. Sarah Palin in June.

The four road projects include:

* Bastein Drive, Nikiski, $300,000 for paving;

* Community College Drive, Soldotna, $250,000, for paving;

* Midway Drive, Sterling, $275,000, for upgrading and paving; and

* Borough-wide road improvements, $250,000.

The ordinance gets a public hearing on Oct. 9.

According to a recent Road Service Area Board resolution the RSA will contract with an engineer consultant to design the road projects and determine specific improvements. The RSA may contribute local capital improvement program funds to assist in completing the projects.

Before the money can be spent, however, the assembly must approve the award of construction contracts by resolution.

Gary Davis, borough roads director, said he hoped the projects could begin by next summer.

"Paving is a preference for the people who live on the roads and for the borough, too," he said. "But we need to investigate the sub base (of each road). If major reconstruction was necessary it would probably eat up all the money (set aside for that road)."

In that case, Davis said, a road might be made paving-ready but then await further appropriations. That is where the ordinance's provision allowing the RSA to use local funds might come into play. Those funds could be used to complete the paving portion, Davis said.

The borough also needs to ensure that there is enough platted right-of-way available around the roads, he said.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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