The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly may ask the state to drop the speed limit on part of the Sterling Highway near Cooper Landing.
The assembly was scheduled to consider a resolution at its Tuesday meeting in Seward that would ask the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to reduce the speed limit from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour on a stretch of the highway between miles 50.8 and 52.8, roughly between Gwin’s Lodge and Sackett’s Kenai Grill. The resolution, sponsored by assembly member Kenn Carpenter, is only a recommendation, as DOT determines speed limits on state roads.
Carpenter wrote in his memo to the assembly that several Cooper Landing residents had requested the change. The area in question is popular for recreation in the summer and is 35 miles per hour on one end and 45 miles per hour on the other end.
“Due to the number of businesses, cabin rentals and parks in that area a lot of pedestrians walk along the highway and drivers enter and exit it, especially during the summer months,” he wrote. “During the winter months vehicles of all sizes including trucks have a hard time slowing down to the slower speed limits at each end of this stretch and frequently end up in ditches or on the guardrails.”
There have been a number of accidents on that section of road in the past, though it’s far from the only one near Cooper Landing that sees accidents every year.
The highway, which does not meet current highway safety standards, follows the curve of the Kenai River and takes two sharp turns just west of Gwin’s Lodge.