Spur Highway widening underway

A four-year Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities project to widen the Kenai Spur Highway between Kenai and Soldotna is underway now with clearing and grubbing.

Drivers on the Kenai Spur Highway between Eagle Rock Drive and Swires Road might notice workers — from Wasilla-based Wolverine Supply and its subcontractors — hydro-axing trees and moving brush alongside the road. This summer the workers will also move utility lines above and below ground away from the road, install some culverts, and cover some marshy roadside areas with dirt to compress the ground and allow it to settle over the winter before next summer’s work: surfacing and paving that section of highway to widen it from its present two lanes to five.

The following year a similar process will begin for the rest of the Spur Highway to Soldotna — clearing and utility relocation in summer 2020, followed by repaving and lane expansion in summer 2021.

Speaking at a Tuesday evening open house on the project at the Kenai Eagles building, DOT Project Manager Sean Holland said the expanded highway is meant to handle the traffic his agency projects between Kenai and Soldotna for the next 20 years. The new highway will have two lanes in either direction plus a turn lane in the center, which Holland said is an important new safety feature.

“The left-hand turn lane is the big addition to the facilities,” Holland said. “We see a higher-than-average accident rate through here, due largely to left-hand turns. People stop to make a left-hand turn and get hit from the rear. So the turn lane is going to going take those cars out of the traffic flow and should decrease that.”

For the first phase of the project — expanding the highway between Eagle Rock Drive and Swires Road in 2018 and 2019 — Holland said all the property to be used is inside the state’s existing right of way for the road, with the exception of a few driveways that DOT is shifting from the highway to nearby side roads. For the second phase in 2020 and 2021, DOT will have to buy pieces of six or seven properties, whose owners have all been notified, Holland said.

Holland said traffic control plans for next year’s paving haven’t been decided.

“There’s going to be disruption for sure, but we’re going to have enough room to move traffic back and forth and hopeful minimize that,” Holland said.

Reach Ben Boettger at bboettger@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Former Democratic state Rep. Beth Kerttula holds up a sign reading "Vot No Con Con," during a Saturday rally at the Dimond Courthouse Plaza in Juneau. Opposition to a constitutional convention, which could alter the Alaska State Constitution to allow for banning abortions was a frequent topic during the protest. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Constitutional convention ballot question in November becomes focus in Alaska’s abortion fight

Abortion rights supporters urge ‘no’ votes on question, while abortion opponents seek changes to constitution

Cassidy Hutchinson, former aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, arrives to testify as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Aide: Trump dismissed Jan. 6 threats, wanted to join crowd

Cassidy Hutchinson, a little-known former White House aide, described an angry, defiant president that day

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signs Alaska’s fiscal year 2023 operating and capital budgets into law on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office)
Dunleavy signs budget

$3,200 in payments to Alaskans, money for local projects included

In this April 11, 2018 photo state Sen. Dennis Egan, D-Juneau, walks out of the Senate chambers and to a reception to honor him and Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, at the Capitol. Both were retiring from the legislature. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Dennis Egan, former state lawmaker and Juneau mayor, dies

He fought hard to keep the capital in Juneau

Haze can be seen on the horizon from North Kenai Beach on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. An air quality advisory was issued for Southcentral Alaska on Tuesday, triggered by ongoing wildfires in the southwest that have produced increased levels of smoke in the region. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Air quality advisory issued for Southcentral

The advisory was triggered by ongoing wildfires in the southwest that have produced increased levels of smoke

Bradley Walters leads the pack up Angle Hill on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at the Salmon Run Series at Tsalteshi Trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer races kick off at Tsalteshi

The annual Salmon Run Series 5K races start on July 6 and continue every Wednesday through Aug. 3

Central Emergency Services staff wait to receive doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly mulls bond for new CES fire station

Replacement of the current station is estimated to cost $16.5 million

Buldozers sit outside of the former Kenai Bowling Alley on Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Old Kenai bowling alley comes down

The business closed in 2015

Most Read