Last year, statewide voters approved a $453 million bond package for various infrastructure based projects across the state. One project included in the package was an extension of the Kenai Spur Highway between the Cities of Kenai and Soldotna.
During Wednesday night’s meeting of the Kenai City Council, the city administration discussed the status of that project with the council. Kenai City Manager Rick Koch:
Koch: “That project is estimated at $40 million by the Department of Transportation, $20 million was included in the statewide bond proposition two-years ago and it passed. So there’s $20 million setting in the state coffers for that project. Rather than allow for that project to languish until another $20 million can be found, I suggested to council to pass a resolution requesting that the state move forward and expend the $20 million on a segment of that roadway. They wouldn’t be able to do all of it for $20 million, but to start on the Kenai end, because the population along the two section lane of the highway leaving Kenai is an area of many serious traffic accidents. It’s less so on the other end, though there are traffic accidents all along there.”
Koch noted that with larger projects like this, timing could be everything…
Koch: “If money languishes, construction inflation has a tendency to eat it up and pretty soon you don’t have $20 million any more, you only have the equivalent of $15-16 million, so we’d like to project move forward. We’d like to see it move forward from this end in the near term rather than the long term.”
The next step in the process will include members of the Kenai City Council to bring back dates that will work to schedule a work session with the state DOT for a more detailed presentation on such a project.