Photo courtesy Sean Holland
The site of the Sterling Highway MP 45-60 Project is seen near Cooper Landing.

Photo courtesy Sean Holland The site of the Sterling Highway MP 45-60 Project is seen near Cooper Landing.

Bypass project pushes ahead

People should expect traffic delays and construction noise when traveling through Cooper Landing this summer.

Trail access and upcoming construction were among the topics addressed during a public meeting for the Cooper Landing Bypass Project last week.

During a public meeting held remotely last Wednesday, workers with the Alaska Department of Transportation reminded people to expect traffic delays and construction noise when traveling through Cooper Landing this summer. Project managers, public involvement staff and civil engineers all presented during the meeting, which lasted for about two hours.

The noise and delays will be the result of construction by workers on the Sterling Highway MP 45-60 project, also known as the Cooper Landing Bypass Project. The project aims to reduce congestion on the Sterling Highway through Cooper Landing and to improve highway safety by bringing some existing roads up to current highway design standards by constructing an alternative route through the area.

About 10 miles of new road will be constructed starting at about MP 46.5 off the Sterling Highway and will cross Juneau Creek before rejoining the highway around MP 56.

Bypass construction work is scheduled to increase in 2021, including the beginning of reconstruction on the main highway as part of Phase 1A of the project, continued clearing of the off-alignment and staging areas, grading and draining work on sections of the new road and the improvement of sections of the pioneer road.

Project leaders urged people Wednesday to “Know Before You Go” if your travel through the area may be disrupted by construction work. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities will notify the public about upcoming construction. AlaskaNavigator.org can be used to check construction status. 511.Alaska.Gov can be used to check road conditions and Sterlinghighway.net can be used to check on project updates.

Those traveling should expect additional trucks on the road transporting materials from Soldotna and Anchorage, drilling and blasting with noise mitigation measures in place and minor trail reroutes during bridge access work.

One of the biggest design changes announced by project leaders during Wednesday’s meeting is the intersection on the bypass’ east side. That area initially had “T” intersections, but will now feature a westbound left turn lane, an eastbound right turn lane, an eastbound ramp to Anchorage and a westbound stop-controlled left turn to Soldotna. Lance Debernardi with R&M Consultants, Inc. said Wednesday that in redesigning the intersection, they considered traffic patterns and efficiency.

Other changes will be made to recreation access in the area, which conflicts with the new highway. To the Resurrection Pass Trail, DOWL Engineer Kelly Kilpatrick said they are proposing a new parking lot and trailhead. The new lot will also provide access to the pedestrian and equestrian trail that will run alongside the new highway. The Bean Creek Trail will be extended to cross under the bridge and a new pullout will provide new access to the trail. The Slaughter Gulch Trail Fork will be removed and a new piece of trail will connect the northern and southern sections of the eastern fork.

Undoubtedly, the project’s biggest feat will be the construction of a steel-arch bridge over the Juneau Creek Canyon. Some of the construction happening this summer includes creating access to where the bridge will cross on either side of the canyon. The bridge by itself is expected to take three years to complete.

The foundations of the bridge are expected to be lower than initially anticipated, meaning the bridge will be lower and will result in fewer visual and noise impacts.

A virtual open house for the project can be viewed until May 14 at sterlinghighwayonline.net. Wednesday’s full meeting can be viewed at youtu.be/Fu0YnQcBYOM.

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

More in News

A DNR map of navigable and non-navigable waters are seen on the Kenai Peninsula. (Screenshot)
State unveils maps in effort to ‘unlock’ Alaska waters

The maps are part of an initiative to assert control of state lands.

On Monday, the final day of the May long weekend, Harri Herter from Kamloops takes turns and gives friends thrilling jetski rides on little Shuswap Lake. - Image credit: Rick Koch photo.
Lawsuit challenges Jet Ski use in bay

Coalition of environmental groups says Fish and Game’s process to rescind JetSki ban was illegal

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a news conference on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska, with a number of state legislators around him. Dunleavy discussed a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with the Alaska Permanent Fund and the Permanent Fund dividend. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Dunleavy proposes new changes to Permanent Fund

The changes are an amendment to updates he proposed earlier this year.

A vial of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is seen at Central Emergency Services Station 1 on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Youth 12-15 years old can now get vaccinated

Borough emergency management is working to assist the Pfizer vaccine rollout efforts to the new eligible population.

Megan Pike, Kenai Watershed Forum’s education specialist and Adopt-A-Stream program coordinator, wades into Soldotna Creek to dig up creek bed samples for a group of Connections Homeschool students to parse through for macroinvertebrate sampling, on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer camp registrations open at Kenai Watershed Forum

The forum canceled its summer events last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The entrance to the Kenai Courthouse in Kenai, Alaska, photographed on Feb. 26, 2019. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Identity of Alaska Court System hacker still unknown

The system was able to restore email access Tuesday.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
State redistricting may take longer this year

State legislative districts are redrawn by a board of five people following the decennial census.

The badge for the Kenai Police Department
Man arrested in break-in at Kenai Central High School

The man, 36-year-old Christopher D. Stroh, allegedly stole miscellaneous items from the school on Sunday.

Most Read