The lingering late-summer weather has allowed contractors to make good headway on Central Peninsula highway work this month, some of which was suspended during the height of RV Season.
“We’re having incredibly good weather for this additional work. A lot of projects were able to get underway," said DOT spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy in Anchorage.
"But it is real nice to get a jump on it and take advantage of the great weather while the traffic volumes are a little lower.”
Most projects will be wrapping up by mid October, McCarthy said, but for the ones that just started, they may go as long as the weather allows.
“Especially if there’s a project that has to do with some work near a creek or river, you might see them go a little later ‘cause working in the wintertime it’s more advantageous with water levels lower," she said.
One of the larger projects is a stretch of the Sterling Highway from milepost 58 to 79, just north of Skilak Lake.
“We’re actually adding in a number of passing lanes, which I think will really aid with traffic, particularly during peak summer months where people can pull around a slower moving vehicle and not feel any frustration or contribute to any congestion," McCarthy said. "And then we’re also installing a number of wildlife amenities that will be a real benefit to Alaskan drivers, because it will channel wildlife down to these under-crossings and keep them under the road and hopefully not over the road.”
There will be six passing areas in that 21-mile stretch of the Sterling, and the shoulders are also being widened to eight-feet.
A little farther away, a traveler can’t help but look up on the hillside north of Cooper Landing and envision the new multi-lane bypass that will raise the highway well above the Kenai River.
“There really is a lot of excitement, both out in the Kenai area and also here at DOT. This was a full-blown EIS, it took many years. We had gotten down to where it was kind of a juggernaut and we really had to make some tough choices, and I think that everyone really came together. So there really is a lot of excitement, and we’re working to design it right now.”
Meanwhile, on the six-mile-long Kenai Spur Highway project from the edge of downtown Kenai northwards, McCarthy says the contractor is rushing to finish up paving this week, with stripe-painting and rumble-strip cutting to be concluded by the end of October.