As the days get shorter and winter weather makes its way to the Kenai Peninsula, the major road construction projects in the area have started wrapping up and winding down. Some will be completed by the end of construction season, but others will have work left to do next spring.
Beaver Loop Road Improvements and Pedestrian Pathway
The Alaska Department of Transportation, in cooperation with Quality Asphalt Paving, has been resurfacing the length of Beaver Loop Road from Bridge Access Road to the Kenai Spur Highway, according to the project information on Alaska Navigator. The project includes the construction of a separated pedestrian pathway. Work has included grading, drainage improvements, illumination, guardrail installation, signing and striping.
DOT Project Engineer Jason Baxley said that everything is currently on schedule. Next week, crews will be paving the bottom layer of asphalt on the road, and Baxley said that he expects crews to be working until mid-October at the latest.
Next spring, crews will return to pave the top layer of asphalt on the road and finish paving the pedestrian path.
Kenai Spur Highway Rehabilitation, Sports Lake to Swire Road
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, in cooperation with Wolverine Construction, has been working to expand the Kenai Spur Highway to five lanes from Mile 5 to Mile 8, according to the project information on Alaska Navigator.
DOT Project Engineer Marcus Forkner said that crews are set to wrap up by the end of October. The first round of paving will begin in the next few days, Forkner said Thursday, and he expects that work to be done by the end of this week.
As phase one of the project is completed, that portion of the highway will remain two lanes through the winter. Temporary striping will be in place to direct traffic, and Forkner said that he expects the speed limit to stay at 45 mph through the winter. A temporary pedestrian pathway will be in place to allow access through the construction zone.
Forkner said that there will be about a month and a half worth of work to be done next year before the project is completed.
Crews are working on and off of the roadway from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. During paving next week, drivers should expect pilot car operations with extended delays.
Sterling Highway Shoulder Widening
DOT has been working to widen the shoulders on the Sterling Highway from Mile 97 to Mile 118 between Soldotna and Clam Gulch. The work also included the installation of four large-diameter culverts at Slikok Tributary, Crooked Creek, Clam Gulch and Coal Creek.
DOT Project Engineer Jake Goodell said that crews are wrapping up peripheral work on this project, which includes installing highway lighting, street signs and delineation treatments. Goodell expects work to be “about 99% finished” by Oct. 15, and crews will return next spring for about two more weeks worth of work. Next year, crews will be confirming that the grass planted during construction has grown in sufficiently along the highway and will then remove the artificial stormwater mitigation measures in place.
Goodell said to expect short flagging zones for the next week as crews finish their work, and next year’s work will be off the road and will have a minimal impact on traffic.
Currently, crews are working from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Construction crews are present on the roadway from Ski Hill Road to North Cohoe Loop Road, and drivers should expect slight delays.
A high number of moose have been sighted along the project corridor. Drivers are advised use caution while traveling, especially at night.
Sterling Highway Rehabilitation from Skilak Lake to Sterling
DOT, in partnership with Granite Construction, has been working to improve road conditions on the Sterling Highway from Mile 58 to Mile 79 between Sterling and the east end of Skilak Lake Road. Work has included upgrading passing lanes and the pedestrian walkway for Skyline Trail, road resurfacing, shoulder widening and replacement of the East Fork Moose River culvert.
DOT Project Engineer Shaun Combs said that although activity from the Swan Lake Fire delayed work by several weeks, most of the major work including asphalt paving will be completed before winter.
All permanent guardrails are in place, and both layers of asphalt will be paved by next Thursday or Friday if weather permits, Combs said.
Combs said that he expects to return to the project around next May or June, but most of the work will consist of peripheral tasks, like permanent striping and signage which should be completed by mid-June of 2020.
For the remainder of the season, pilot car operations will be in place, with two cars running during the day and one car running at night to minimize traffic delays.
For the latest information on all construction projects, visit Alaskanavigator.org.