Phase 1 Federal Project No. 0221(018) | Phase 2 Federal Project No. CFHWY00253 | Phase 2 Federal Project No. 0221(019)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the project?
The Kenai Spur Highway Rehabilitation project will improve the existing roadway between Sports Lake Road
and Swires Road. The project is widening the roadway into five lanes (two eastbound, two westbound, one center) in order to improve safety.
What will the improved highway look like?
Before construction, the highway was 40 feet wide, including two 12-foot lanes with eight-foot shoulders. The Kenai Spur Highway Rehabilitation Project is widening the existing highway to five lanes: four, 12-foot through lanes (two in each direction) with two 8-foot shoulders and a 14-foot center Two-Way Left-Turn Lane (TWLTL). At some intersections, the center lane will become a dedicated left turn lane. These project improvements will match the section of Kenai Spur Highway from S. Forest Drive to Swires Road and carry that same design through to Sports Lake Road.
Why are these improvements needed?
The Kenai Spur Highway serves as a critical link between the communities of Kenai and Soldotna. Lying between two five-lane segments, MP 2.4 to 8.1 of the highway bottlenecks to two lanes. These five miles of highway have crash rates higher than the statewide average, and also have the second highest rate of moose collisions in Alaska, so safety improvements are needed.
How will this project improve safety and reduce collisions?
The continuous Two-Way Left-Turn Lane (TWLTL) is anticipated to provide greater separation for opposing traffic, thereby reducing the risk of head-on collisions. It will also remove vehicles waiting to make left-turns from through lanes, lowering the risk of rear-end collisions.
How is the project funded? What will it cost?
In 2011, DOT&PF received a $20 million appropriation from the State legislature for the project. The Cities of Kenai and Soldotna expressed their preference for a five-lane highway; however, that design was estimated to cost about $40 million, two times greater than the available funding. The DOT&PF decided to move forward with the five-lane highway alternative by breaking the project into two phases:
a. Phase 1 included the work that was able to be completed with the initial $20 million.
b. Phase 2 was moved forward at a later date once federal funding was approved.
When did construction begin?
Construction on Phase 1, from approximately Eagle Rock Drive to Swires Road, began in late spring 2018 and is scheduled to be complete by mid-summer 2021.
Phase 2 will begin at Sports Lake Road and tie into Phase 1 at Eagle Rock Drive. This phase will require some minor Right Of Way purchases. Currently, acquisition is 95% complete. Construction for Phase 2 is scheduled to begin in 2020 and continue until fall of 2023.
Will this project move the roadway from its existing location?
No, the highway will remain in the same location.
What will happen to driveways next to the highway where it is being widened?
DOT&PF will reconstruct existing permitted driveways and accesses to tie into the new roadway. In some locations, DOT&PF may consolidate or relocate driveways to side streets to improve safety. DOT&PF will not be creating new driveways or approaches as a part of this project. If you would like to apply for a driveway/approach road permit, please consult the permit application website at www.dot.state.ak.us/permits/index.shtml.
What will happen to mailboxes along the highway?
DOT&PF will relocate and/or replace any mailboxes that are affected by the project. This may include creating grouped mailbox locations. DOT&PF will work with the United States Postal Service to best accommodate mail service to affected residents during and after construction.
Will you be clearing trees next to the roadway?
Trees will be cleared as part of this project. There are many reasons to clear trees along the roadway: to improve visibility along roadway (especially in areas with curves), to provide ample space for DOT&PF road maintenance crews to clear snow, to reduce roadway shadows that can lead to icing, and to create a clear zone or hazard free area adjacent to the roadway for errant vehicles. This stretch of the Kenai Spur has a high rate of moose collisions. Keeping vegetation as far back from the road as possible will keep feeding moose further away from the highway and will allow drivers to see crossing moose sooner. All these things improve roadway safety. DOT&PF may clear trees up to the limits of the proposed/acquired right-of-way line.
Will there be more street lighting?
No. Lighting will not be installed. The maintenance and operation is not funded.
Will the speed limit change as part of the project?
No. The posted speed limit is 55 mph, with a reduction to 45 mph approximately one-quarter mile from the end of project, just past Mapes Street. Under the proposed improvements, the speed limit will not change and remain at 55 mph throughout the project segment.
How are you addressing the pathway adjacent to the highway during construction?
The construction contract will require the pathway stay open for use. Similar to the roadway, there will likely be some delays and minor inconvenience associated with temporary traffic control measures.
Who can I contact to get more information?
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Christina Huber P.E., Project Manager