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Funny River Road to be repaved this summer

Funny River Road in winter 2022.
Riley Board
Funny River Road in winter 2022.

All of Funny River Road is going to get paved next year, from its start in Soldotna to the very end.

The purpose of the project is to improve the 17-mile road, which Steven Rzepka from the Alaska Department of Transportation said is reaching the end of its drivable life.

“If you drive up and down the road, you’ll see rutting, you’ll see pavement cracking, you will see shoulders that have eroded,” he said. “The asphalt is fatigued.”

Rzepka said the plan is to resurface all of Funny River Road and improve the drainages and intersections along it.

DOT plans to begin construction in 2023, as soon as spring thaw occurs, although that could change depending on the contractor’s schedule. Rzepka said this is a one-season construction project — the majority of the work will happen next year, with only small checklist items occurring in 2024, if any.

Rzepka said there will be no impact to private properties along the road, though he said residents can expect some construction delays during the work, as DOT occasionally closes lanes, sets up detours and replaces culverts.

Rzepka said he hasn’t heard any pushback from property owners along the road.

“In general, the project is well received, as far as people looking forward to the surface being resurfaced,” he said.

Rzepka said he met with the Funny River Community Association in October to talk through the project. That’s a group that facilitates social and economic interests in the Funny River area.

“One of the largest things you hear with pavement preservation projects is there’s always the desire for more,” he said. “So there’s always the desire that more is done, that the shoulders can be wider, the curves can be straightened. But because of the type of funding for this project, those things are just not within the scope.”

Funding for this project comes through the Federal Highway Administration. DOT’s estimated total cost for the project is between $10 and $20 million.

DOT will not be doing work on any bridges along Funny River Road, as a previous version of this story story. The article has been corrected.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.
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