Escape Route, a road connecting the towns of Kenai and Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, is photographed on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Escape Route, a road connecting the towns of Kenai and Nikiski on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, is photographed on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough tables state road trade

“Things haven’t been going too well, so we’re going to ask to table it here after the public meeting.”

A proposed public roads exchange that would have handed off the Nikiski Emergency Escape Route to the state has been shelved.

At the April 2 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, assembly member Kenn Carpenter said the borough roads department and state couldn’t come to an agreement on the exchange.

“These are roads that the borough and the state have been working on trading throughout the borough here,” he said. “Things haven’t been going too well, so we’re going to ask to table it here after the public meeting.”

In an October letter to Kenai Peninsula Borough Road Service Area Roads Director Dil Uhlin, the Alaska Department of Transportation’s Peninsula District Superintendent Carl High outlined a proposal to trade ownership and maintenance of nine state-maintained roads for the borough-owned Escape Route, a dirt back road running between Nikiski and Kenai.

“In an attempt to find logical efficiencies that would benefit both the Kenai Peninsula Borough and that State of Alaska DOT, we would like to propose trading ownership and maintenance of the roads listed below,” the letter read.

State roads listed for trade included sections of Secret Road, Longmere Way, Lakeshore Drive, Murray Lane, Marhenke Street, Dolores Drive, Cohoe Beach Road, Pollard Loop and Alta Loop. The length of the state-maintained roads totaled 4.7 miles. The Escape Route is about 4.6 miles in length. All of the roads are paved except Cohoe Beach Road, Pollard Loop Road and Alta Loop, according to the October letter.

If the agreement had been approved, the borough would have taken over the maintenance, ownership and control of the state roads listed, giving up their responsibility for the Escape Route.

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