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

The Swan Lake Fire can be seen from above on Monday, Aug. 26 on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Alaska Wildland Fire Information)
State lifts burn suspension

Residents may now obtain permits for burn barrels as well as for small and large-scale brush fires.

A chart produced by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services shows four risk factors in being infected by COVID-19. (Graph courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
17th Alaskan dies of COVID-19

There were 23 new positive cases of COVID-19 announced Tuesday.

Noah and Eddie Land of Grace Acres Farm in Kasilof set out produce Tuesday, July 7, 2020, at the Farmers Fresh Market at Kenai Peninsula Food Bank. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Freshness times 2

DoubleUp program helps seniors, families eat healthy

In this July 20, 2013 file photo, several thousand dipnetters converged onto the mouth of the Kenai River to catch a share of the late run of sockeye salmon headed into the river in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file photo/Rashah McChesney)
Dipnetters banned from retaining kings

Dipnetting on the Kenai River opens Friday.

The entrance to the Kenai Peninsula Borough building in Soldotna, Alaska, is seen here on June 1, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Application period for borough relief funds begins Monday

Borough residents can apply for these grants July 13 through July 24.

A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through a race during the pig races at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Kenai Peninsula Fair canceled this year

Cotton candy, carnival rides and racing pigs will have to wait for… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image CDC)
State reports 30 new cases; hospitalizations reach new high

The cases include 28 residents and two nonresidents.

photos by Megan Pacer / Homer News 
                                A youth rider takes a turn riding a bull calf during the 60th annual Ninilchik Rodeo on Saturday, July 4 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik. The rodeo lasted throughout the July Fourth holiday and celebrated a return to the event’s roots.
Riding high in Ninilchik

Ninilchik Rodeo celebrates 60 years with events new and old.

A closed sign is posted at a retail store shuttered due to the new coronavirus, in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna to vote on relief funds for businesses, nonprofits

CARES Relief and Recovery Grant funds would be rolled out in two phases.

Most Read