Cars drive along the Kenai Spur Highway near Eagle Rock Drive on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2021 near Kenai, Alaska. The highway will be widened under a state transportation project. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Cars drive along the Kenai Spur Highway near Eagle Rock Drive on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2021 near Kenai, Alaska. The highway will be widened under a state transportation project. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

2nd phase of project to widen Kenai Spur to start this summer

The first phase of the project widened the highway between Swires Road and Eagle Rock Drive

Construction on the second phase of a project that would widen the Kenai Spur Highway is scheduled to begin this summer.

The project is meant to reduce congestion and improve safety along the corridor by widening the existing roadway to five lanes between Swires Road and Sports Lake Road.

Christina Huber, manager of the Kenai Spur Highway Rehabilitation Project, told the Clarion on Tuesday that construction on the project’s second phase is expected to begin as planned this summer.

“We’re pretty excited to get it started,” Huber said.

The first phase of the project widened the highway between Swires Road and Eagle Rock Drive and was completed in the summer of 2020. The second phase will widen the remaining highway between Eagle Rock Drive and Sports Lake Road, and is scheduled for this summer. Contracted clearing of the area described by the second phase was completed in the summer of 2020.

Among the ways the project aims to improve safety along the highway is the creation of a dedicated left turn lane. That lane will run continuously down the center of the highway and allow motorists to make left turns in both directions. According to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, the changes are needed because the segment of highway has collision rates higher than statewide averages.

Street lights will not be installed along the revamped roadway due to the costs of setting them up and maintaining them, according to the state transportation department’s website. The department will reconstruct existing driveways and accesses to tie into the new roadway and will relocate or replace any mailboxes along the highway. The speed limit will not be changed.

“In some locations, DOT&PF may consolidate or relocate driveways to side streets to improve safety,” says a department flier about the project. “DOT&PF will not be creating new driveways or approaches as part of this project.”

The pedestrian pathway will be required to stay open as part of the construction contract, according to the department, but Huber said people in the area should plan for travel disruptions similar to those experienced during the project’s first phase.

“I hope that people think the inconvenience is worth it,” Huber said.

More information about the Kenai Spur Highway Rehabilitation Project can be found at dot.alaska.gov/creg/kenaispur.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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