Among other changes planned for highway travel through Cooper Landing, a speed limit change could also be on the horizon.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly member Kenn Carpenter introduced a resolution this week that would ask the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to reduce the speed limit on the Sterling Highway from 55 miles per hour to 35 between mileposts 51 and 53.
“This area we’re talking about is between Sackett’s and Gwin’s (Lodge). It’s called Crash Row. We’ve all seen wrecks there. It’s ridiculous that you come out of a 35 mile per hour corner and if you sit there at Gwin’s, you can hear them throttling up. Meanwhile, you have Kenai Cache pulling a riverboat out on the highway at the same time and all of a sudden you hear brakes.”
Carpenter notes in his memo to the assembly that the sudden speed limit drop going into a sharp corner is made even more difficult in winter. And in the summer, there’s also pedestrian traffic in the area.
“There are four park entrances there. It’s used, that little stretch of land, you’ll see people stopped to take pictures of eagles right on the side of the road. Instead of going 35, 45, 55 in 1.2 miles, it should be 35 (miles per hour) like the rest of Cooper Landing.”
Carpenter says he talked to a number of local business owners and residents who were in favor of the change. And there’s no argument from the state troopers, either.
“It would help them to be able to ticket people better in that area. It is crazy driving in that whole area there. We all drive the road. We know that nobody does 55. It’s 60 or 65 (miles per hour). But this area is an area that needs to be slowed down.”
The assembly tabled the resolution until the Cooper Landing Advisory Planning Commission could take it up and offer some formal comments on the idea. It will be back before the assembly next month.