Snow slows traffic, though few accidents reported in Kenai, Soldotna

With a measurable amount of snow on the roadways this morning, it’s time to slow down and bust out the four-wheel drive.

Drivers in Kenai, Soldotna and the surrounding areas were prepared, or at least lucky, this morning when they hit the roads. During the first snowy morning commute of the season, local officials were pleased to report only a few minor accidents.

“At about 8:30, there were only two minor wrecks around K-Beach Road and then one minor wreck that we knew about in the Soldotna city area,” said Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Megan Peters. “It doesn’t look that bad.”

The accident in town occured by the sports center, said Soldotna Police Chief Peter Mlynarik.

Kenai fared even better this morning, with no accidents to report.

“Thankfully, and against our expectations, we have had zero accidents called in this morning,” Kenai Police Sgt. Paul Kushman said by early afternoon. “We are very pleased. … It’s good to finally give good news.”

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ Alaska 511 web portal reported road conditions on the western Kenai Peninsula as good by early evening Tuesday, with fair conditions on the roads east of Sterling. The snow had been plowed, but slush remained on the eastern Sterling Highway, according to Alaska 511.

All three officials warned drivers to slow down on the roads and be cognizant of how the weather will impact their commute.

“Slow down and keep lots of space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you,” Mlynarik said. “If you have four-wheel drive, put it in four-wheel drive. … Don’t worry about saving gas. You’ll save yourself some heartache.”

Peters also recommended those who have been procrastinating when it comes to snow tires get to work.

“As always, the roads are just as safe as the people driving on them,” Peters said. “If they are aware that they need to take more time to stop in certain cases, if they put on their snow tires and are driving cautiously, it should be OK. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.”

The AccuWeather forecast predicts more snow and some rain throughout the rest of the week, which could create more driving issues.

“Weather can dictate a lot of what’s going on with the roadways,” Peters said. “So drivers need to be cautious. It can change from one hour to the next. Take your time — it’s wintertime in Alaska.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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