I was pleased to read Darrell Marshall’s idea to make a better and safer route between Kenai and Anchorage. We need more people coming up with ideas that will help us save lives, energy, the environment and money. I have been driving the round trip between Anchorage and Kenai about 25 times a year for the last 50 years and would like to put forth an idea that I have been developing for quite a while.
First, build a causeway across Turnagain Arm from Beluga Point to a point a couple miles west of Hope. From this point the road would fork, with the east branch going to connect with the Hope Road. Going west at the fork, a 50-mile road would need to be built through the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to Kenai. This route would be relatively flat and give better access to Graycliff Subdivision, the Swanson River gas fields and would be a beautiful drive with many lakes and scenic forests. The benefit would be that all traffic going to Kenai, Soldotna, Sterling, Homer, Ninilchik, Anchor Point, etc. would be taking 100 miles off the drive. The drive to Hope, Cooper Landing and Seward would greatly be shortened and eliminate one of the mountain passes.
One of the best results of the causeway would be lowering the traffic along Turnagain Arm from Beluga Point eastward to Girdwood and Portage to a trickle. This section of the Seward Highway has been notoriously dangerous with its mix of commuters, skiers, long haul drivers and hooligan fishermen.
The portion of the Seward Highway between Portage and the Hope cutoff would be virtually unused by all except a few snowmachiners and skiers.
The causeway could easily be built using the abundance of rock along the north side of Turnagain and would create a beautiful 25-mile long fresh water lake between the causeway and Portage for boating, fishing, waterskiing and in the winter, iceboating. A fish ladder would have to be built so that fish could get past the causeway, into the lake so they could access the rivers for spawning. How many times have we read of people walking out in the mud of Turnagain Arm only to have the fast moving tide come in and drown them before they could get back to safety?
This changing of the flow of traffic would totally eliminate any need for rebuilding the road through Cooper Landing. This beautiful quaint town along the Kenai River could become a great destination for tourists and fishermen rather than a small town dealing with trucks and a high volume of fast moving traffic.
The amount of fuel saved, the increased ease of moving products to the consumers on the Kenai Peninsula, along with the lives saved would more than justify the cost of this project.