Potholes are seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Potholes are seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai seeks to split Wildwood Drive rehab costs with state

The road was identified in Kenai’s 2009 Roadway Improvement Survey to be in a failed condition

The City of Kenai will ask the State of Alaska to chip in money for the planned rehabilitation of Wildwood Drive following approval of the request by city council members on Wednesday.

That road, which stretches from the Kenai Spur Highway to the entrance of the Wildwood Correctional Complex, is more than 50 years old and “considered by many as the worst road in Kenai,” according to a March 9 memo from Kenai City Manager Terry Eubank. The road was identified in Kenai’s 2009 Roadway Improvement Survey to be in a failed condition.

Efforts to rehabilitate the road, which has noticeable potholes and bumps, have been years in the making. Kenai Public Works Director Scott Curtin told council members during Wednesday’s meeting that, although the road was identified as a problem in 2009, he has correspondence going back 10 years before that in which the same issues are identified.

“We have patches on top of patches — I’ve got 2 feet of patches,” Curtin said Wednesday of the road’s condition. “It looks like a quilt out there.”

Curtin said the city has conducted previous geotechnical investigations that revealed an insufficient gravel base underneath the road. The city will, as a result, need to excavate out roughly 3 feet of material and put new gravel in for the majority of the road, Curtin said.

In all, rehabilitation of Wildwood Drive is expected to cost about $929,000 for roughly 2,300 feet of road. Kenai City Council members have already set aside $329,000 for the project. Now, the city is asking the State of Alaska to cover the remaining $600,000.

“The City of Kenai solely maintains the road, which is primarily utilized by State employees and is critical to public safety agencies on the Kenai Peninsula,” Eubank wrote.

Design of the project is already complete, the resolution says, using the money set aside by the city.

“This project is shovel-ready,” the resolution passed Wednesday says.

The City of Kenai has previously partnered with the State of Alaska to extend water and sewer facilities to the Wildwood Correctional Complex, which is located outside of Kenai city limits. City administration, Eubank wrote, is interested in continuing to partner with the state to serve Wildwood Correctional Center, Wildwood Pretrial Facility and the Wildwood Transitional Program.

Per the legislation, copies of the resolution will be sent to the Kenai Peninsula’s state legislative delegation, Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner Jen Winkelman and Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities Commissioner Ryan Anderson.

Wednesday’s meeting of the Kenai City Council can be streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

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

Potholes are seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Potholes are seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

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