As RVers, dipnetters, anglers, and other recreationalists prepare to drive to the Kenai Peninsula for the peak of tourist season and the personal use dipnet fishery — which runs from July 10 to July 31, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) plans to step out of their way.
According to DOT’s project mapping website Alaska Navigator, the agency has five ongoing construction efforts in the central peninsula. Four are being suspended or prohibited from restricting traffic during July.
One — resurfacing, shoulder-widening and culvert replacement between Sterling Highway mile 58 and mile 79 — occupies the major entry route to the western peninsula and has closed lanes and required drivers to follow a pilot car since beginning early this summer. From July 10 to July 16, DOT will prohibit its contractor, Granite Construction, from restricting traffic in that area. After that time DOT will allow Granite to work nights, from 9 p.m to 9 a.m Monday to Thursday, until the end of July.
Another DOT project on the Sterling Highway — adding left turn lanes at mile 89.8 — suspended work in June and will remain suspended until August.
The two main routes to Kenai from Soldotna are also receiving DOT work this summer. The agency is resurfacing Kalifornsky Beach Road from its intersection with the Sterling to its intersection with Bridge Access Road in Kenai. On the Kenai Spur Highway, DOT has been starting on a project that will widen the entire road to five lanes by 2022. Both projects will not restrict traffic from July 10 to July 31.
Summer travelers continuing south will have to contend with construction delays. Shoulder widening on the Sterling Highway from 97 to mile 118 will “have no restrictions on the contractor for fishing season because they’re south of K-Beach Road,” said DOT spokesperson Shannon McCarthy.
Although most of DOT’s contractors won’t be able to restrict traffic, McCarthy said, they’ll still have tasks to do on their projects.
“There’s always work to be done on construction,” she said.