The labyrinth of Alaska road construction
By Julie Stricker
Every summer, scores of tourists and fishermen flock to the Kenai Peninsula, home to world-class salmon fisheries, spectacular scenery, and abundant wildlife. For most of the year, it’s about a two-hour leisurely drive south from Anchorage, but during
the height of the summer tourist season, caravans of motorhomes and SUVs run into a
fifteen-mile bottleneck on the Sterling Highway. At Milepost 45, the road narrows
to two lanes with sharp corners, no shoulders, and limited visibility. It
runs through the community of Cooper Landing, crossing hidden
driveways and side roads with speed limits of 45 miles-per-hour
or less. This stretch of Sterling Highway was built in the
1940s and ‘50s to serve the level of traffic being seen
at that time. Originally gravel, it is the only road
that links the western Kenai Peninsula
communities of Homer, Kenai, and
Soldotna to the rest of the state.
Today, it’s clearly overburdened.
42 Alaska Business | June 2018 www.akbizmag.com