There have been significant changes to two Kenai Peninsula roads this summer. The good news is the delightful improvement along the 31 miles of the Sterling Highway between Clam Gulch and Ninilchik. Repaving and numerous guard rails have been installed wherever the roadway is significantly higher than the land bordering it.
The bad news is close to Homer. This is a state road and is used by many people for a variety reasons and 0.8 mile of East Skyline Drive has now become extremely hazardous due to removal of trees very near the south side of the roadway. Who removed them and why? Did they get permission from DOT?
Many years ago old-timers told us about a driver who skidded off the south side of this section of road and rolled down the steep southern slope. A miracle occurred. His vehicle was caught by a large tree. The vehicle was wrecked, but the driver lived!
Skyline Drive has needed guard rails along this particularly dangerous section with the steep south-facing slopes for decades.
Although DOT does a good job of sanding, just how big a mountain of sand would it take to cover every inch of ice on slick roads in winter?
I shudder to think about what would happen if a school bus, a skier and family headed for Olson Mountain Road area for skiing this winter, Alaskans and tourists headed toward the Wynn Nature Center, and yes, the growing number of people who live in the Homer hills should get into a skid along this 0.8 mile stretch.
Sure, we all know that state funding is tight, but 0.8 mile of guard rail for only the south side of the road is a crucial need before this winter begins.
The cost is well worth it if it enables Alaska to save even one life?