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

Heidi Drygas, executive director of the 8,000-member Alaska State Employees Association, addresses a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol on Feb. 10, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire File)
Let’s stop the ‘Neglect. Panic. Repeat.’ cycle of public service delivery

The payroll section is one of several state agencies in crisis

This photo shows Alaska Department of Public Safety Commissioner Jim Cockrell. (Courtesy photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Strengthening Alaska through service: Join the Alaska State Troopers

The law enforcement positions within the Department of Public Safety fill a critical need within our community

A tabletop voting booth is seen next to a ballot box at the Kenai city clerk’s office on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Last call to voice your vote!

We will see you at the polls Oct. 3

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Addressing Kenai Peninsula’s education and public safety employee shortage

Many of our best and brightest educators take a hard and close look at the teacher’s retirement system in Alaska early in their careers and are stunned

Deven Mitchell, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (Courtesy photo)
Opinion: Providing for generations of Alaskans

As a public endowment, the wealth of the Fund is the responsibility of every resident of the state

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney greet each other outside the chamber at the U.S. Capitol on April 5, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite / AP file photo)
Opinion: Alaska’s senators and Mitt Romney

When newly elected Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, began his term five years… Continue reading

UAA Provost Denise Runge photographed outside the Administration and Humanities Building.
Opinion: UAA offers affordable and convenient pathways that prepare students for the next step

At UAA, we provide numerous academic programs designed to meet specific workforce needs

A line of voters runs out the door of the Diamond Ridge Voting Precinct at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center on Election Day, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Homer, Alaska. Chamber Executive Director Brad Anderson said he had never seen the amount of people coming through the polling place. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
How many ways can you vote?

Multiple ballot options available to voters

Most Read