Welcome to the Sterling Highway MP-45-60 Online Open House Text Only Version
The project is planned to reduce highway congestion, meet current design standards, and improve highway safety.
Summer 2022 construction will focus on the current highway at Phase 1A (MP 56-58), the Pioneer Roads, and Tract C. Construction is anticipated to continue through fall 2022, and recreation access will be maintained throughout construction. Design continues on the middle and east end of the project.
Station 1: Project Overview
West End (Phase 1A)
Phase 1A is under construction. Finishing touches are anticipated to take place in spring 2023.
Phase 1A Design Features:
- 12-foot lanes
- 8-foot shoulders
- Wildlife undercrossings
- Rock cuts with mesh retaining walls
East End (Phase 1B)
Intersection of Old and New Sterling Highways
The design was finalized for the intersection at MP 47 connecting the Sterling Highway and the current (Old Sterling) highway as primary access into Cooper Landing.
- The Quartz Creek Road intersection concept at MP 44.5 is finalized. The connection to the Kenai Peninsula Borough roads is in process.
- Utility relocations are in process. Utility companies are to finalize the preferred utility relocation sites with property owners.
- Construction of Phase 1B will coincide with Phase 3.
Juneau Creek Bridge (Phase 2)
- The Value Engineering Study has been completed; it evaluated cost and value of design concepts, including factors such as bridge height, aesthetics, constructability, and trail impacts.
- Suggestions included changing bridge type to rigid structure to reduce cost, open line of sight near trails, and simplified construction and maintenance.
- DOT&PF will use recommendations to adjust bridge design this spring.
- Construction to occur 2023–2026.
New Alignment (Phases 3–6)
Design and Construction
- Highway design is at 95%.
- Features include new pathway along south side of new highway, wildlife crossings, and climbing lanes.
- Land exchange is in progress.
Recreation Access (Phases 3-6)
Resurrection Pass Trail
The parking configuration was adjusted based on feedback from United States Forest Service (USFS) and horse and snow machine user groups.
- New parking and a dedicated left-turn lane will be constructed.
- The new trail will connect the parking lot to Resurrection Pass trail with a separate equestrian access trail.
- The new Juneau Falls Overlook will be accessible via a 1/4-mile trail from the parking lot.
- The parking lot will accommodate the access road and include snow storage.
Tight Diamond Interchange
Tight diamond interchange design selected for the intersection of new and old Sterling Highways at west end of Phases 3–6. Design best for traffic safety and for minimizing impacts on cultural resources and wetlands.
Station 2: Design Updates
West End (1A) – MP 56-58
The West end of the project, also called Phase 1A, is located between mileposts (MP) 56 and 58.
This section of road is under construction this summer. Construction of this phase is scheduled to be completed in 2023. Recreation access is being maintained on all trails throughout construction.
When completed, the road will feature 12-foot lanes and 8-foot shoulders. Significant features of this phase include wildlife crossings and rock cuts. Mesh retaining walls will blend in with the roadside rock for a natural look.
New Alignment (Phases 3-6)
This segment of the project stretches from MP 47 to MP 56 and will build a new section of highway to pull the road away from the Kenai River and to cross Juneau Creek in the best location.
Construction is occurring in summer 2022 to create access to the bridge.
Highway design is 95% completed. The land exchange between Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is underway.
Features include wildlife crossings and climbing lanes, which allow for faster vehicles to pass slower ones on the uphill sections of road.
FOREST SERVICE ROAD RAMPS
Design is 75% complete on the ramps connecting the new Sterling Highway to Forest Service #2 Road.
A pathway along the south side of the new highway has been approved and design is progressing. The pathway was requested by the community. Benefits include creating pedestrian connections to other trails and allowing construction to use excess material on-site instead of hauling it away.
Resurrection Pass Trail
- The trailhead will have new parking and a dedicated left-turn lane.
- A new trail will connect from the parking lot to the Resurrection Pass trail. An equestrian access trail is included.
- The parking lot will accommodate the access road and include snow storage areas.
- An overlook will be built where the Resurrection Pass trail and the new trail connect.
- The Resurrection Pass trail will receive minor reconstruction.
Bean Creek Trail
- A new pullout will be built to access the Bean Creek Trail.
- The trail will receive minor reconstruction.
Slaughter Gulch Trail and Creek Crossing
- Hikers will be able to access the Slaughter Gulch Trail through a highway undercrossing structure.
- The creek will use the same structure to cross the highway.
Western Intersection (Phase 5)
The intersection of the new and old Sterling Highways at the west end (Phase 5) will feature a tight diamond interchange design.
This design was selected to provide the best traffic safety and to minimize impacts on cultural resources and wetlands.
East End (1B) – MP 45-47
The east end of the project reconstructs the highway alignment between MP 45 and 47. This section is also called Phase 1B.
Extensive rock excavation is needed to move the highway farther north away from Kenai Lake and to straighten out the curves.
Just over 1 million cubic yards of material will be excavated and placed along other sections of the project. This volume is similar to excavations at the Bird Creek parking lot on the Seward Highway.
Design is finalized for the intersection at the west end of this phase at MP 47. This provides a new connection between the Sterling Highway and the current highway (Old Sterling Highway) as the primary access into Cooper Landing. The intersection will feature:
- A westbound left-turn lane from the Sterling Highway onto the new connection to Old Sterling;
- An eastbound right-turn lane from the Sterling Highway to the new connection to Old Sterling;
- An eastbound ramp (to Anchorage) from the new connection that merges onto the Sterling Highway; and
- A westbound, stop-controlled, left-turn (to Soldotna) lane from the new connection to the Sterling Highway.
The concept for the Quartz Creek Road intersection at MP 44.5 has been finalized. Connections to Kenai Peninsula Borough roads are in design.
The pedestrian tube undercrossing trail design is unchanged. It connects the separated pathway on the south side of the highway with the Coyote Notch Trail on the north side.
Other design work includes looking at striping and other ways to increase safety for turning vehicles to access Russian Gap and accounting for development on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Tract C.
Utility relocations are in progress. Utility companies will work with property owners to finalize preferred utility relocation sites.
Construction timing on this phase is tied to Phase 3. Construction will likely bid in 2022 and start in 2023.
Juneau Creek Bridge
DOT&PF has completed a Value Engineering Study for the bridge to fine tune bridge design for a variety of considerations including aesthetics, constructability, and trail connections.
Suggestions from the study included using a rigid structure for the bridge to reduce cost, maintaining an open line of sight near trails, and simplifying construction and maintenance.
DOT&PF will use these recommendations to adjust bridge design this spring.
Bridge construction is estimated to start in 2023 and to take 3 years to build, including steel procurement. The bridge is a critical scheduling factor for the entire project.
Station 3: Watershed Connectivity
Hydrological mapping is complete. Wetlands are maintained, and culverts, ditches, and wildlife passages will provide watershed connectivity throughout the project area.
Station 4: Project Schedule and Next Steps
Field work, design, and construction activities are underway along the project corridor.
- Winter field work at bridge abutments is complete.
- Permitting coordination with agencies is underway for construction activities.
- Summer 2022 construction will focus on Phase 1A (MP 56 to MP 58), Pioneer Roads, and Tract C.
- Water quality testing continues upon request.
- Wildlife camera work is ongoing.
- A large archeology crew is in the field this season completing construction monitoring and data recovery. Findings will be published publicly as allowed on a semiregular basis.
Project completion will likely occur in 2027.
Coordination with property owners is well underway. Property appraisals are continuing on Phase 1B. The project is coordinating with Kenai Peninsula Borough and USFS to gain access to alignment on existing roadways. Phases 3–5 will not impact private property owners.
Station 5: Construction
- Summer 2022 construction focuses on Phase 1A (MP 56 to MP 58), Pioneer Roads, and Tract C.
- Scarsella Bros. are continuing Phase 1A construction.
- Quality Asphalt Paving was selected as the new Construction Manager/General Contractor and will be working on Pioneer Road and Tract C construction.
- Recreation access will be maintained throughout construction.
Know Before You Go
DOT&PF will notify the public about upcoming construction.
Project and road condition information:
- AlaskaNavigator.org – construction status. Search for the Sterling Highway MP 45-60 project.
- 511.Alaska.Gov – road conditions. Select “My 511” to create an account and sign up for alerts to your phone or email.
- Sterlinghighway.net – project updates.
Sign up now to receive alerts about changes to traffic patterns so you can plan your travel.
End of Online Meeting