An area cleared for the Cooper Landing bypass project can be seen below Slaughter Ridge in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on July 18, 2020. (Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

An area cleared for the Cooper Landing bypass project can be seen below Slaughter Ridge in Cooper Landing, Alaska, on July 18, 2020. (Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Snug Harbor drivers will see delays

Travelers through Cooper Landing should expect traffic delays on Snug Harbor Road and along the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing throughout the summer because of construction.

Drivers should expect delays along Snug Harbor Road near Kenai Lake, which is undergoing work as part of the Snug Harbor Road Paving and Bike Lane Phase II project. That project, carried out by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, is meant to enhance the long-term stability of multiple existing steep slopes along Snug Harbor Road, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Work on that project was set to begin the week of July 5, though construction was paused between July 2 and July 6 due to the Fourth of July holiday.

Specifically, the steep slopes along the road will be flattened to reduce the potential for erosion during spring breakup and during extreme precipitation events, the Federal Highway Administration said. Phase I of the project was targeted toward improving pedestrian safety along Snug Harbor Road via the construction of a separate pedestrian path and by widening the road. Phase I also aimed to improve drainage along the road and extended the existing asphalt by one-half of one mile.

Funding for the project, which is expected to be completed this fall, came from the Federal Highway Administration’s Federal Lands Access Program.

According to a project newsletter distributed earlier this month, Drennon Construction & Consulting Inc., the project contractor, is scheduled to work Monday through Saturday, with flagging operations running from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Motorists should expect delays and one-lane traffic control.

Delays along Snug Harbor Road are in addition to those motorists should expect when traveling along the Sterling Highway through Cooper Landing this summer.

Construction is already underway as part of the Sterling Highway MP 45-60 project, also known as the Cooper Landing Bypass Project. That project, being done through the Alaska Department of Transportation, aims to reduce congestion on the Sterling Highway through Cooper Landing and to improve highway safety by constructing an alternative route through the area.

When completed, about 10 miles of new road will veer off of the Sterling Highway starting at about Mile 46.5 and cross Juneau Creek via a steel arch bridge before rejoining the Sterling Highway around Mile 56.

As part of the Cooper Landing Bypass Project, traffic restrictions will occur throughout July, including a detour at Mile 56 of the Sterling Highway, a new traffic pattern in that area and a reduced speed limit of 35 mph. Additionally, motorcyclists should proceed with caution on the detour and be aware of a gravel surface on the detour. Drivers should drive at a reduced speed of 45 mph between Mile 54.5 and 58 of the Sterling Highway and be aware of heavy equipment moving within the project zone.

That is according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities’ Navigator program, which can be accessed online and shows up-to-date information about construction delays on Alaska roads. Road conditions can also be checked ahead of travel at 511.alaska.gov.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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