Road, gas line work cause traffic delays

Mix summer tourist traffic with construction projects and the end of the road got a taste of big-city bumper-to-bumper traffic. Work on the Sterling Highway repaving project combined with the installation of the Homer distribution gas line by the post office backed up traffic from Pioneer Ave to Lake Street today.

Drivers using the highway along that stretch should allow for delays of up to 20 minutes, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities advises, but some drivers today reported delays of 45 minutes.

“We’re working on that,” said Jonathan Tague, the DOT&PF project engineer for the Sterling Highway repaving project. “I know today is kind of bad. Hopefully this will be the worst of it.”

QAP, the contractor for the repaving, is “milling” the pavement today — stripping the top asphalt surface. Motorcyclists should be careful when going over the grooved surface.

Tague said DOT&PF doesn’t like to see delays of more than 10 minutes.

 “Anything over that, we’re going to start getting with the contractor to alleviate that and shorten it up,” he said.

Paving should go on tonight up to the top of Baycrest Hill, Tague said. Traffic should be two-way for the paving. He said to expect longer traffic waits at night. The main section of the Sterling Highway through Homer should be done soon, Tague said, with the only additional work to come for the approaches to the highway from side streets.

Utility Technologies Inc., the contractor working on the Homer gas line distribution project for Enstar Natural Gas, also has been working along the Sterling Highway installing a 4-inch line. On Thursday UTI crews were putting in a line on the north side of the highway by the post office between Heath Street and Waddell Way, with traffic diverted around that work. Installation of that line between Pioneer Avenue and Lake Street should be going on through next week.

The Sterling Highway repaving project will put in new asphalt on the highway all the way to Tall Tree Avenue north of Anchor Point.

For information on state highway construction, visit the Alaskan Navigator website at

For information on the Homer gas line project, visit the Enstar Natural Gas website at

Michael Armstrong can be reached at