Sterling Highway Milepost 45-60 Project Number: 53014 / STP-F-021-2(15)

Sterling Highway MP 45-60 Project Spring Online Public Meeting – April 29 – May 14, 2021

Text Only

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.

Construction on the current highway will begin this spring. Design is continuing on the middle and east ends of the project.

For more information, visit sterlinghighway.net or email the project team at sterlinghwy@hdrinc.com

View the full presentation and video:

https://youtu.be/Fu0YnQcBYOM

1. Project Overview

This section features the following project maps.

  • Phase 1A map West End (Phase 1A)
  • East End (Phase 1B) Intersection of Old and New Sterling Highway
  • Off Alignment (Phases 3-5)
  • Juneau Creek Bridge
  • Slaughter Gulch Trail Construction
  • Resurrection Pass Trail Construction

2 – Design Updates

West End (1A) – MP 56-58 Map

The West end of the project, also called Phase 1A, is located between milepost (MP) 56 and 58.

The road will be reconstructed to feature twelve-foot lanes and eight-foot shoulders.

Design has been minorly adjusted to better protect wetlands and waterways.

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.

This section of road will be under construction in 2021 and 2022.

A separate erosion control project will occur simultaneously in the same area.

Off Alignment (3-5)

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 this season to create access to the bridge.

Highway design is approaching 60% design.

Features include wildlife crossings and climbing lanes which allow for faster vehicles to pass slower ones on the uphill sections of road.

Design continues on the intersection of the new and old Sterling Highways at the west end. The intersection will function like the Girdwood intersection.

PATHWAY

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 including creating pedestrian connections to other trails and allowing construction to use excess material on-site instead of hauling it away.

RECREATION

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.
  • 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.

East End (1B) – MP 45-47 Old/new Sterling intersection map

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 further north away from Kenai Lake and to straighten out the curves.

Just over 1 million cubic yards 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 Sterling Highway and the current (Old Sterling Highway) as the primary access into Cooper Landing. The intersection will feature:

  • A westbound left turn lane from Sterling Highway onto the new connection to Old Sterling;
  • An eastbound right turn lane from Sterling Highway to the new connection to Old Sterling;
  • An eastbound ramp (to Anchorage) from the new connection that merges on to the Sterling Highway; and
  • A westbound, stop controlled, left turn (to Soldotna) from the new connection to the Sterling Highway.

Design for the Quartz Creek Road intersection at MP 44.5 will be available to view in fall 2021.

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 (KPB) Tract C.

Utility design is 80% complete. Right-of-way acquisition is underway and is slated for completion in August 2021.

Construction timing on this phase is tied to Phase 3. Construction will likely bid in 2022 and start in 2023.

Juneau Creek Bridge Design

A steel arch design was selected for the bridge over the Juneau Creek.

Foundations will be constructed a bit lower than we originally anticipated, which will lower the bridge itself, reducing visual and noise impacts.

The bridge features a wildlife crossing separated from traffic.

Due to the length of the bridge and the type of rock at the abutments, a massive geotechnical effort in 2020 and 2021 is gathering data for foundation design.

The bridge is estimated to take three years to build, including steel procurement. The bridge is a critical scheduling factor for the entire project.

3 – Watershed Connectivity

Hydrological mapping is complete. Wetlands are preserved, and culverts, ditches, and wildlife passages will provide watershed connectivity throughout the project area.

4 – Project Schedule and Next Steps

As design continues and construction ramps up, the project will see a robust field season.

  • Geotechnical investigations will continue at the bridge site.
  • Extensive cultural resources research and monitoring will occur throughout the project.
  • Minor wildlife work will continue with a focus on bird and goshawk counts and monitoring cameras at wildlife crossing locations.
  • Surveyors will work on trails in some areas.
  • Invasive species eradication is occurring now to reduce spread during construction.
  • Water quality testing is continuing upon request.

RIGHT-OF-WAY

Coordination with property owners is well underway. Property appraisals are started on Phase 1B. The project is coordinating with KPB & USFS to gain access to alignment on existing roadways. Phases 3-4 will not impact private property owners. The CIRI/USFWS land transfer is still underway.

FIREWOOD

Firewood will be made available to the public again this season. Check the Cooper Landing Crier and project website for notices. Join the project email list for direct notification.

https://visitor.r20.constantcontact.com/d.jsp?llr=cbhhkktab&p=oi&m=1120258989090&sit=d6ks7qpjb&f=e7c1c4ff-8a4c-49bf-bf17-5538c9cffcc7

5 – 2021 Construction

Construction is scheduled to increase in 2021.

  • Reconstruction will begin on the main highway on Phase 1A, with Scarsella Brothers as the contractor.
  • Clearing on the off-alignment and at staging areas will continue.
  • Grading and drainage work will begin on sections of the new alignment.
  • Sections of the pioneer road will be improved this summer.

The anticipated schedule for 2021 construction on the off-alignment section of the project may shift to take advantage of alternative construction methodologies.

A staging area at MP 45.5, next to the Cooper Landing Brewery, will be used to support construction. The project is coordinating with KPB to assure that land use is consistent with future development.

Recreation access will be maintained on trails throughout construction. Trail users may see signs of construction activity.

Watch for trucks on the road through Cooper Landing. Construction materials will be trucked in from Soldotna and Anchorage.

West End (Phase 1A) Construction

  • No major closures are expected this summer.
  • Several short nighttime road closures are anticipated during July. A two-week notice is required for closures.
  • Periodic lane restrictions are minimized on weekends and daytime hours.
  • Two small detours will occur around the area of the wildlife crossings.
  • Night work will occur, from 9 PM to 6 AM, away from town around MP 58.

Off-Alignment Construction

  • Drilling and blasting will occur with noise mitigation measures in place.
  • Minor trail reroutes will be posted during bridge access work.

Pioneer Road Improvements

  • All access routes through subdivisions will remain open.
  • Watch for increased truck traffic.

Know Before You Go

DOT&PF will notify the public about upcoming construction.

Project and road condition information

Sign up now to receive alerts about changes to traffic patterns so you can plan your travel.

https://www.alaskanavigator.org/projects/11-sterling-highway-mp-45-60-sunrise-lake-road-skilak-lake-road-advanced-clearing

6 – Public Meeting Video

https://youtu.be/Fu0YnQcBYOM

7 – Project Sign Up & Contact

Please sign up to receive project updates and notices about firewood availability and construction.

 

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