The section of unpaved road on the Kenai Spur Highway heading into Nikiski, as seen on Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

The section of unpaved road on the Kenai Spur Highway heading into Nikiski, as seen on Feb. 26, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Damaged section of Kenai Spur Highway to remain unpaved for now

Repairs won’t happen until spring

A damaged section of the Kenai Spur Highway in Nikiski likely won’t see repairs until spring.

Most residents of Nikiski have become well-acquainted with the rough section of roadway, which is located just south of Miller Loop Road, near Mile 19. The approximately 200 feet of road was damaged by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Southcentral on Nov. 30, 2018.

Following the quake, the Department of Transportation removed the damaged asphalt and replaced it with ground asphalt, but several months of winter weather and daily commutes have left the area riddled with potholes. Drivers are forced to slow down significantly while going over the roadway to avoid damaging their vehicles or making the road worse.

Brian Gabriel, Soldotna Station foreman with DOT, has said that fixing the section of road is the first project on their list, but repaving the section will likely have to wait until May at the earliest. The local asphalt production plants cannot start operating until winter is over, which means that DOT must wait for spring to begin repairs.

In the meantime, Gabriel said that DOT will continue to apply gravel or ground asphalt as needed, and encouraged people to call 907-262-2199 to report when the damage gets too severe. He also recommended driving slowly — around 20 miles per hour — to prevent creating more potholes. Gabriel said that the transition between the paved road and the ground asphalt is particularly susceptible to potholes, and drivers should be aware of the “lip” that is created by the transition.

According to Gabriel, there is no structural damage to the culvert underneath the road, but it could potentially be replaced while repairs are made later this year.

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