Design Project Manager Steve Noble and Public Involvement Lead Stephanie Queen appear to discuss the Sterling Safety Corridor Improvements project during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Design Project Manager Steve Noble and Public Involvement Lead Stephanie Queen appear to discuss the Sterling Safety Corridor Improvements project during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Sterling Safety Corridor project to get ‘reintroduction’ at community meetings this month

The corridor begins near Whistle Hill in Soldotna and ends shortly after Swanson River Road in Sterling

Once slated for construction in 2022, the long-developing Sterling Safety Corridor project has been restarted, with construction now targeted to begin in 2026. Project leads will be hosting public meetings later this month in Sterling and Soldotna to collect feedback. Those meetings are set for June 25 and 26 at the Sterling Community Center and Soldotna Public Library, respectively.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the Soldotna City Council, Public Involvement Lead Stephanie Queen and Design Project Manager Steve Noble gave an update on the project and fielded questions from council members.

The new project team includes the State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, QAP, Dowl and Stephanie Queen Consulting.

The project, Noble said, is intended to decommission the Sterling Safety Corridor between Soldotna and Sterling — it was first designated a safety corridor in 2009, owing to an above-average fatality and injury rate. The corridor begins near Whistle Hill in Soldotna and ends shortly after Swanson River Road in Sterling.

Previously, the project was intended to construct a four-lane highway through the corridor, with a depressed median.

“It was chosen because it solves a lot of the safety issues that have plagued this corridor,” Noble said. “By a substantial margin, it has a much safer record than what’s out there and some of the other alternatives. It reduces those rear-end crashes, reduces run-off-the-road crashes, reduces head-on collisions, provides much safer passing opportunities and provides the capacity that we’re looking for. The challenge is, of course, that it tends to restrict access.”

It was the significant public feedback received that delayed construction before, Noble said. Many people want to see the corridor improved while also having concerns about how that will happen. For people who live along the corridor, access to their homes could be made difficult without turning left on or off the road.

Though the project is just restarting, he said that is still the “preferred alternative from the previous work.”

“They’ve asked us to go back and revisit that alternative, find ways to try to address the access and the other types of concerns that have been raised by the public over the last couple of years,” he said. “I would ask people to try to keep an open mind.”

A pair of open house meetings are set for this month, for “project reintroduction.” On Tuesday, June 25, the first meeting will be held at the Sterling Community Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The second meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 26, at the Soldotna Public Library from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

More information about the project can be found at SterlingSafetyImprovements.com.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Central Emergency Services Chief Roy Browning and other dignitaries toss dirt into the air at a groundbreaking for the new Central Emergency Services Station 1 in Soldotna on Wednesday.
Central Emergency Services celebrates start of work on new Station 1

Construction might begin at the site as soon as Monday

A sockeye salmon rests atop a cooler at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Sockeye ‘good’ on Kenai, Kasilof

Northern Kenai Fishing Report

Kelsey Gravelle shows a hen named Frego and Abigail Price shows a goose named Sarah to Judge Mary Tryon at the Kenai Peninsula District 4-H Agriculture Expo on Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
4-H ag expo returns this weekend with animal shows, auction

The events take place at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex from Friday, July 26 to Sunday, July 28

Amandine Testu. Photo courtesy of Delta Wind
Missing hiker in Kachemak Bay State Park found

Park rangers reported Amandine Testu as ‘overdue’ Wednesday morning

Voters fill out their ballots at the Challenger Learning Center in Kenai, Alaska on Election Day, Nov. 8, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Incumbents show lead in fundraising for state offices

Candidate spending is detailed in disclosure forms due Monday

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchorage man dies after being found floating in Kenai River

The man had been fishing in the area with friends, according to troopers

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point woman dead after ATV rollover

Troopers were called around 9 p.m. on July 16 and told of a rollover on Anchor River Road

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Kenai man dead after weekend collision

The crash took place at the intersection of Treasure Chest Street and the Kenai Spur Highway

Most Read