Road work wrapping up: Culverts, bike trails on DOT list

Posted: Friday, September 03, 2010

As the summer construction season comes to a close, the Alaska Department of Transportation is finishing more than $10 million worth of projects.

The road work includes a culvert installation near the intersection of Bridge Access and Kalifornsky Beach roads, paving along the Sterling Highway and general work on Tustemena Lake Road.

The Kalifornsky Beach Road project replaced a damaged 4-foot diameter fish passage with a 6.5-foot culvert, project engineer Jonathan Tague said.

State Department of Fish and Game biologist Ginny Litchfield said that structural damage had lifted the inlet end. That caused the approximately 40-year-old culvert to cut off juvenile salmon from a wetland rearing habitat.

The department dug 25 feet down to install the larger culvert, Tague said, and dumped 120 pounds of ditch lining inside to simulate a streambed. The department replaced the culvert during dipnet season, unfortunate timing that stymied traffic at the K-Beach intersection.

The project also began a 2,700-foot bike pathway requested by the VIP subdivision in the area. According to the engineer, the community was interested in a pedestrian and biking area along the road.

"It's to keep pedestrians and bicycles off the road," he said. The project should be finished next year.

Assistant project engineer Laura Paul said that the remainder of the project's $1.2 million budget will go toward upgrading the stop light's electronic system. The car detectors, which work in junction with the lights to direct traffic more efficiently, had been failing. Tague estimated that the new sensors will be installed by June 30 next year.

Paul said that $5.5 million went into road repair on the Sterling Highway from Soldotna to Cohoe Loop Road. DOT plans to rehabilitate the thoroughfare from Mile Post 45 to 60 next year. DOT also plans to repair damage done by the 2002 flood where Deep Creek North and Wayside intersect with the thoroughfare.

The department plans to finish grading on Tustemena Lake, Crooked Creek and Johnson roads in a week. Project engineer Gary Walklin said that crews will begin paving the gravel roads in mid-September. According to Paul, $2.75 million has been spent so far.

Walklin said that the Homer Electric Association Access Road bid went through last week. The $700,000 project will create a new avenue to the Kenai Spur Highway, add lighting and install gutters, he said. Construction will commence in a month, but it's doubtful that workers will get much done this season.

"I don't expect much work to get done this year except clearing or electric work," he said.

The department's website lists tentative notices for construction of replacement bridges at Trail River, Falls Creek and Ptarmigan River next spring. A summer project will resurface Holt-Lamplight Road. The construction will also replace guardrails, and add new signs and stripes.

Tony Cella can be reached at

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