Potholes can be seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Potholes can be seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Wildwood Drive to get a makeover

The drive has been called one of the “poorest rated condition roadways” in Kenai.

Kenai City Council on Wednesday took actions to improve the road to the central peninsula’s correctional complex — Wildwood Drive, which was dubbed one of Kenai’s “poorest rated condition roadways,” according to a memo from Kenai Public Works Director Scott Curtin to the council.

The resolution adopted by the council Wednesday moves $329,000 in funds already appropriated in previous fiscal years into the “Wildwood Drive Rehabilitation Project,” which Curtin identifies as a capital project.

A request for proposals for professional engineering services to develop bid-ready construction documents will be released later this spring, with the city hopeful that it can release an invitation to bid for construction early this summer.

Wildwood Drive connects to Kenai Spur Highway in the northern part of Kenai. The project would address about 2,500 linear feet of roadway from where it meets Kenai Spur to the entrance of Wildwood Pretrial Facility. Completing the rehabilitation work will allow the city’s streets department to “more effectively maintain” the road.

Linda Anderson, who said she has lived on Wildwood Drive for 29 years, asked for the city to pave the road.

“It’s past time to get it done,” Anderson said. “… This one really desperately needs to be done. You know, I figure I pay taxes just like everybody else and I really would appreciate it to be done.”

“I think we can agree it’s long overdue,” Kenai Mayor Peter Gabriel said, adding that a right-of-way issue is one of the reasons the project has taken so long.

Council member Henry Knackstedt added that a lack of drainage on Wildwood Drive is likely contributing to the erosion of the existing asphalt. Along the edges of the road, Knackstedt said, there used to be ditches that have since filled up with sand and other debris. Somewhere under all of that, Knackstedt suspects, there may already be culverts in place.

“If you don’t keep the water off of [the asphalt], it will deteriorate very rapidly,” Knackstedt said. “I’d be concerned about spending $350,000 on the project and having it deteriorate in a few years.”

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander said that he has submitted a request through the office of Alaska Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, to the Alaska Department of Corrections asking that they pay for half of the project cost because the road is primarily used by vehicles going in and out of Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

“Obviously, the Department of Corrections is the primary user of that road and they would benefit greatly from it being repaved,” Ostrander said.

Ostrander said the Kenai Natives Association has ownership of the underlying tract of land on which Wildwood Drive runs, so the city may not be able to expand the width of road as part of the project. Ostrander said he has been in touch with the Kenai Natives Association to see if they would be willing to authorize additional width if that is a need identified in the project’s design stage.

Wednesday’s city council meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

Potholes can be seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Potholes can be seen on Wildwood Drive on Thursday, April 22 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

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