Road construction to continue into fall in central peninsula

Though the tourism traffic on the Kenai Peninsula’s roads has thinned out as the summer wanes, local drivers should still expect some delays due to construction.

Contractors for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities are still plugging away at several road projects on the Kenai Peninsula. One of the most visible has been the Sterling Highway milepost 58–79 project, stretching nearly 22 miles along the highway between Sterling and the Skyline trailhead. Workers for contractor Granite Construction have installed a new bridge over the east fork of the Moose River and are working on realigning sections of the road.

Work largely takes place after 8 p.m., with pilot car operations between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m. between mileposts 67 and 70 and 58.5–60, according to Alaska 511. Construction on that road is expected to last into October.

Closer to Soldotna, crews are also working on constructing a turning lane at the intersection of the Sterling Highway and Jim Dahler Road/Forest Lane. Work on that project also takes place largely at night, between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. Flaggers are present and other equipment, so drivers should take care, according to Alaska 511.

In town, utility crews are working on replacing lines along the Kenai Spur Highway in preparation for a highway widening project in the future. Road work is partially suspended until the end of August to allow the utility crews to work, and traffic impacts should be minor until then, according to Alaska 511. On the other side of the river, drivers should expect flaggers and delays on Kalifornsky Beach Road as contractors work on resurfacing and improving that road, adding traffic signals at Gaswell and Ciechanski roads.

Some intersection closures are coming up for the traffic light work. Between Aug. 31 and Sept 3, the Gas Well Road and K-Beach intersection will be closed, with drivers redirected onto a detour. The same kind of closure will happen at the Ciechanski Road and K-Beach intersection between Sept. 7 and Sept. 10, with drivers redirected onto Kimberly Drive and Kristina Way, according to Alaska 511.

In Soldotna, drivers and residents have been avoiding Kobuk Street as crews from the Soldotna maintenance department have been resurfacing it and completing related nearby utility work. Lee Frey, project manager for city of Soldotna, said the project is nearing completion. The road has been paved and the asphalt needs to sit for a couple weeks before street markings are painted.

The west side of the Corral Avenue intersection is the only place currently under construction. He said the city is waiting on some special equipment to finish up the area, which could take a couple more weeks.

Drivers in the Sterling area have also had to watch their speed a little more carefully near Sterling Elementary School. The Department of Transportation recently dropped the speed limit on part of the Sterling Highway near the school from 55 miles per hour to 45, effectively extending the 45 mile-per-hour zone a little farther toward Soldotna.

DOT spokesperson Shannon McCarthy said the state had been considering the request to lower the speed limit in the area for some time, and expects the decrease in speed limit to help with compliance in the school zone nearby.

Clarion reporter Victoria Petersen contributed reporting. Reach her at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com. Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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