Construction workers labor Friday night to build an enclosure around a support for the old Kenai River bridge in Soldotna. Once pumps have removed water from the enclosure, crews will demolish the cement structure.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Workers are slowly getting the Kenai Spur Highway repaving project lined out, while the Sterling Highway bridge project is becoming a bit of a drain. The good news? Both projects are expected to be completed on schedule.
Despite having a bit of trouble with new epoxy paint being used, the Spur repaving should be completed by Tuesday or Wednesday, according to John Sorenson, Department of Transportation and Public Facilities project manager .
"It's taking a day to get maybe a mile right now," Sorenson said.
The epoxy has only been used "maybe once" in the state, Sorenson said, and it's laying down thicker than crews would like. Because of that, things have been slow going. Despite the minor glitch, however, motorists should be driving on a fully finished and newly paved road by the middle of the week.
"Tuesday or Wednesday we should be pretty well done with it," he said.
As for the bridge, much of the work being done is going on out of sight of motorists passing over the project, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty going on down below.
On Friday, workers emptied a coffer dam of water from the Kenai River. Draining the water will allow workers to begin demolition work on the center pier of the old bridge, according to Matt Coullahan with DOT.
In addition to draining the coffer dam, Coullahan said crews are finishing up paving work on Riverside Drive and continue to drive piles for the new bridge. In addition, work to pave the approaches to the temporary bridge has been completed, meaning drivers won't have to deal with pavement breaks through the rest of the fall.
All that work adds up to good news, Coullahan said. Speaking at a meeting of the Kenai River Special Management Area advisory board Thursday, he said he's optimistic the entire project could be finished up as soon as the end of next summer.
"We should be on target for a bridge opening in August," he said.
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