Kenai borough prepares for transportation study

Posted: Friday, December 06, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- It's been 10 years since the Kenai Peninsula Borough performed a wholesale review of its transportation infrastructure, but a borough planners are set to begin a study with the help of a hefty state grant.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has given the borough nearly $182,000 to produce a boroughwide transportation plan good for the next decade. The borough is kicking in enough to bring the grant budget to $200,000. The plan will become part of the borough's comprehensive plan.

Planners are preparing a request for proposals for professional services to help prepare the plan. The borough must spend the money by October.

Borough Planning Director Max Best said one immediate problem the transportation study may serve to resolve is traffic flow in and around subdivisions. There are places in the borough where collector roads are inadequate for the current traffic, he said.

''We need wider feeder roads, some sort of overall plan that would show where these routes would go,'' he said.

When completed, the proposed transportation plan will review traffic counts for the past five years and measure current traffic on all collector roads. It will investigate traffic trends on highways, collector roads, trails, railroads, airports and the marine highway system within the borough.

Bridges will be inspected and reviewed and trail use will be analyzed.

Estimates of population growth and traffic flows for the next 10 years will be made for each sector.

From all that, the plan will generate recommendations for specific upgrades, major maintenance priorities and capital improvement projects.

Assembly President Pete Sprague of Soldotna said he sees the possibility of a more efficient mass transit system as an eventual outcome.

The borough should discuss the long-range opportunities for expanding rail service on the peninsula, he said. However, the cost of a rail system and the number of customers it would need to be viable likely mean rail expansion will not happen soon, he said.

More immediate, perhaps, would be bus service between communities across the borough.

''I see that as realistic,'' he said.

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