The recently released Alaska State Transportation Improvement Plan includes the reconstruction of the Sterling Highway from Baycrest Hill to Anchor Point.
In response, the Homer Trails Alliance is advocating for an upgrade of the planned culvert at Diamond Creek to a pedestrian underpass.
This proposed underpass would not only offer a safe crossing of the Sterling Highway but also provide connectivity within the Diamond Creek Recreation Area, nearly 1,000 acres of public recreation land, according to Billy Day with the trails alliance.
The recreational area includes the Alaska State Park’s Diamond Creek Recreation Site, City of Homer’s Diamond Creek Recreation Area and the Homer Demonstration Forest.
The culvert is located at the lowest spot in the highway between Diamond Ridge Road and Green Timbers Road and is the section of the road the Homer Trails Association is most concerned about because it will add a northbound turn lane at a place where the speed zone is 55 miles per hour.
Letters of support for the Homer Trails Alliance underpass proposal were provided by Kachemak Bay Conservation Society, Homer Drawdown, Homer-Kachemak Bay Rotary Club, Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Cook Inletkeeper, Independent Living Center, Homer Soil and Water Conservation District, Friends of Kachemak Bay State Parks, Kachemak Bay Equestrian Association, Kachemak Nordic Ski Club and Homer Cycling Club.
Final confirmation of the pedestrian underpass option will be determined by the Department of Transportation professional engineers and plan team. Alaska Department of Transportation project manager responsible for this portion of the highway is Aaron Hunting.
On Monday Hunting confirmed that the agency is looking at the feasibility of incorporating the underpass corridor.
Public comments for the pedestrian underpass can be submitted to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) at https://publicinput.com/stip/#3.
If readers are interested in providing comments, cite STIP project number 2670. The comment period will close on Sept. 3.