Editorial: On the road again

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 10:27am
  • Opinion

This past week, the Clarion reported on a number of road construction projects expected to begin in the next couple of months.

Our first reaction the sheer amount of construction — Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokesperson Shannon McCarthy described it as “a huge, huge construction season on the Kenai” — might be to wonder if we’ll be able to make it anywhere on the Kenai Peninsula this summer. In fact, projects are planned for every major roadway in the area — the Sterling Highway, the Kenai Spur Highway and Kalifornsky Beach Road.

But the fact of the matter is that our roads need the work, and the added safety and better traffic flow that come with road improvements are long past due. If you’ve driven to Fairbanks or Glennallen in recent years, or even to Seward, you’ve no doubt noticed the improved roadways, with wider shoulders and better passing lanes — things that have been on our wish list on the Kenai Peninsula for years.

Beyond just improving roads on the central Kenai Peninsula, construction projects over the next couple of years should prove to be an economic boon for our community. Just some quick cocktail napkin math shows more than $123 million for Kenai Peninsula road projects in the next couple of seasons. That’s a big influx of cash for our local economy — and a lot of work to be had in an area where the economy has been feeling the effects of the state’s recession.

Improved transportation infrastructure leads to other business opportunities as well — better road access makes any community more business-friendly. As one of our Facebook commenters noted, “Construction smells like prosperity.”

Of course, road construction will undoubtedly cause some headaches this summer. While contractors will do their best to keep traffic moving, some delays are inevitable. So, we’ll offer the same advice we offer at the start of every construction season. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get anywhere. Check AlaskaNavigator.org and 511Alaska.gov for traffic delays and road conditions.

When you do get stuck in traffic, we offer this advice, paraphrased from Thomas Jefferson: When frustrated with slow traffic, count to 10; when very frustrated, count 100.

And then just think of how much nicer your drive will be when all the construction is done.

More in Opinion

U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka and former President Donald Trump stand on stage during a July 2022 rally in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Tshibaka’s insincere defense of democracy

There are a lot of possible explanations why fewer votes were cast last November

Opinion: Humanism and the billionaire class

Compromise is the right thing to do and they should do it.

Opinion: The challenged truths of 3 elected representatives

“Politicians lying is nothing new.”

This photo shows the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: The wrong way to define demand

And as glaciers go, the Mendenhall is only a minor attraction.

Zachary Hamilton (Courtesy photo)
Borough mayoral candidate: ‘The best is yet to come’

Zachary Hamilton is running for Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor in the special election

Love, INC in Soldotna, Alaska, provides homelessness prevention and housing services to people on the Kenai Peninsula. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: COVID relief funds help homeless children in Alaska

We need to sustain this kind of investment.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: Alaska must act now to capitalize on carbon markets

Alaska has vast forests and coastlines that can provide natural carbon management

Opinion: MLK Day clinics offered in the ‘spirit of service and advocacy for equality and social justice’

Attorneys across the state will be spending their holiday as “A Day On, Not a Day Off”

The M/V Tustumena comes into Homer after spending the day in Seldovia in 2010. (Homer News File)
Opinion: New federal funding could aid Alaska Marine Highway System

The evidence is clear that the AMHS is in grave danger of failing and moving into Alaska’s history books

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’ve seen the union difference

As a community we can show solidarity…

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Sullivan’s irrelevance in defense of democracy

Two years ago this week, supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol…

People vote in polling booths at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: What’s on your 2023 schedule so far?

There is a Kenai Peninsula Borough Special Mayoral Election coming up in February