The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) plans to rehabilitate and improve the safety of the Sterling Highway between Sterling and Soldotna, Alaska. The Sterling Highway is a critical surface transportation link in the Kenai Peninsula Borough. This 11.5-mile, two-lane section of the highway between MP 82.5 and 94 has no passing lanes, limited passing opportunities, and no slow-vehicle turnouts. The purpose of the Sterling Safety Corridor Improvements project is to improve overall safety and improve efficiency during peak summer and commuter traffic times.
Over the past several decades, the local communities of Sterling and Soldotna have grown, tourism and recreation on the Kenai Peninsula have increased, and portions of the Sterling Highway have degraded. These factors have contributed to increased traffic congestion and safety concerns. Between MP 82.5 and 94, the Sterling Highway has a high rate of fatal and major injury crashes, is over capacity, and does not function efficiently during commuter hours and summer peak traffic times. In 2009, MP 83 to 93 was designated a Safety Corridor (fourth in the state), which demonstrates the serious need for improvements. Since 2009, DOT&PF has added left turn lanes at Scout Lake/Swanson River Road, West Scout Lake, Robinson Loop Road/Tustamena Street, and Mackey Lake Road intersections, which has helped improve conditions, but full reconstruction of the corridor is needed to resolve traffic and safety concerns long term.
DOT&PF developed a Preliminary Decision Document (PDD) (hyperlink to document) in 2009, which presented various alternatives to the public that had been evaluated by the state as part of the Sterling Highway Safety Corridor Study. The final PDD recommended a four-lane highway with a depressed median.
Due to the state’s current economic climate, DOT&PF is developing the project so that it will be eligible for federal funding. This means DOT&PF must complete the federally required environmental review, which is an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The proposed project includes:
Note: The design will not change the existing five-lane highway configuration in Sterling or Soldotna.