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Thread: Sterling Highway Project

  1. #1
    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Default Sterling Highway Project

    This project to improve the Sterling Highway has been in the works for a long time....sounds like they may be getting ready to pull the trigger on it, though:

    http://www.sterlinghighway.net/alternatives.html

    I'm very concerned with the proposed "Juneau Creek Alternative"....which, other than doing nothing, has the lowest-estimated cost of the various routes, so obviously the state would be looking hardest at that one. It would however cut across the Resurrection Pass Trail near Juneau Falls, as well as the Mystery Creek Wilderness Area. Anyone who has spent time up there knows it is one of the most beautiful, peaceful, and easily accessible hiking spots on the Kenai Peninsula....I for one, do not care to see Russian River-bound traffic or "the longest single-span bridge in Alaska" going straight through there.

    Public comment period ends May 26, 2015. I strongly urge anyone with an interest in the matter to make a statement.
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    Member logman 49's Avatar
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    Considering the amount of traffic it receives, it's time this stretch of road was updated in my opinion. It has been studied to no end for over thirty years.

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    A long overdue project. The only logical solution is one of the alternatives that completely bypasses Cooper Landing and the need to criss-cross the river over and over.

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    Member cod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    A long overdue project. The only logical solution is one of the alternatives that completely bypasses Cooper Landing and the need to criss-cross the river over and over.
    I agree. I'm surprised it has taken this long. Every time I go by that bad corner just south of gwens I look to see what new car/truck parts are laying along in the ditch. Just last week a tandem truck unit left the rd just before and across the rd from gwens injuring the driver. It's only a matter of time before one goes in the river. We can only hope at this point that it won't be carrying dangerous cargo to the river when it happens.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    I think it's really sad that we might need to send a highway through the resurrection pass area. I'm certainly opposed to it, but nobody listens to me. As far as I'm concerned people should be willing to slow down and not drive stoned/drunk/tweaking/tired.

    Yet, this is the real world. And people die on that road every month in the summer due to the fact that humans aren't willing to slow down and sober up. So, we need 14 foot lanes and 8 foot shoulders and wide curves. I get it. It just makes me sad. I will definitely write to express my strong preference for the Cooper Creek or G South Alternatives.

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    While I also don't like seeing the road moved to ANY other route, it is inevitable. I have never driven that road fast, tired or buzzed and yet have had many knuckle wrenching experiences going through there. It isn't just a summer thing either, Dan, it is really bad in the winter, and I totally dread traveling it. Still, I wish it didn't have to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cod View Post
    I agree. I'm surprised it has taken this long. Every time I go by that bad corner just south of gwens I look to see what new car/truck parts are laying along in the ditch. Just last week a tandem truck unit left the rd just before and across the rd from gwens injuring the driver. It's only a matter of time before one goes in the river. We can only hope at this point that it won't be carrying dangerous cargo to the river when it happens.
    I'll never forget when many years ago an accident between a truck and semi along that qwens stretch caused the guy in the truck to loose his head............ literally.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    It isn't just a summer thing either, Dan, it is really bad in the winter, and I totally dread traveling it.
    That's a good point. I mostly have driven it in the summer, and can't understand how people manage to crash their car on that road. Totally understand that in the winter it may be a totally different ballgame. Especially if you don't have studs. And, I also get that with a first class highway on both ends, it's easy for somebody who is inexperienced to not adjust their speed through the Cooper Landing area. I agree that some re-route is needed.

    I just don't want them to go as far north as they are proposing with the Juneau options.

  9. #9
    Member theultrarider's Avatar
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    I'm all for doing a Cooper Landing bypass. With a bypass vs trying to straighten and widen the old road they can get as much work accomplished in one summer on a new road vs 10 years of lane closures and restrictions ect of trying to keep the busiest road in alaska while doing major upgrades. That would take forever to accomplish. The traffic would be a nightmare. Build the new road and let traffic flow normally til it's complete.

    Also the environmental threat to the river and habit along it is far greater trying to upgrade the old road. I understand not want a new highway through your playground. I wouldn't either. But every existing road goes through what what once a remote playground for someone. Likewise. Widen and straightening the road through CL would affect many people's homes. Many would lose alot of property. I believe going around is the lesser of all evils for many reasons and should be started on soon. Enough studies.

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Bad for businesses in Cooper Landing, but will make it more off the beaten track, which could make it more popular with "wilderness" seekers. Hope it doesn't become another Talkeetna. Might become more like Hope.
    Maybe Cooper Landing will actually deserve its designation as "rural". Hah!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    Bad for businesses in Cooper Landing, but will make it more off the beaten track, which could make it more popular with "wilderness" seekers. Hope it doesn't become another Talkeetna. Might become more like Hope.
    Maybe Cooper Landing will actually deserve its designation as "rural". Hah!
    I wouldn't say "bad for business". Really, not many of those businesses are last minute decisions as people drive by, they are planned out ahead of time. B&B's, charters, etc... It isn't like someone is driving by and suddenly saying "hey, I think I will take a fishing charter today". Personally, if I was looking for a B&B, I would much prefer one that wasn't 20' from the highway. Being off the main highway after the bypass is built will actually be more of a draw for most of the businesses.

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    Cooper Landing Businesses for the most part make their profit from June-mid October, and I can't see their business suffering terribly. Places like Sacketts might see a decline in their Winter business, but it seems like each time I've been there during the off season, it is mostly locals or those who have driven there specifically, that are patronizing the place.

    I look forward to the bypass, and the (hopefully) reduced sounds of buses and semi's jake breaking through the canyon....
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    I wouldn't say "bad for business". Really, not many of those businesses are last minute decisions as people drive by, they are planned out ahead of time. B&B's, charters, etc... It isn't like someone is driving by and suddenly saying "hey, I think I will take a fishing charter today". Personally, if I was looking for a B&B, I would much prefer one that wasn't 20' from the highway. Being off the main highway after the bypass is built will actually be more of a draw for most of the businesses.
    You may be right re: present hospitality and fishing businesses. But businesses which have catered to passers-through, are already borderline now. Places like Hamiltons. Restaurants and gas stations will close down completely. Gwinn's may survive due to it's niche and fishing connection. Wildman's and Sunrise will survive, but roadside businesses in Cooper Landing proper will die. I'm not talking B&Bs nor guide services, that's a whole different category. And note: I'm not saying that is bad, just saying it is so. Progress marches on.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by sayak View Post
    You may be right re: present hospitality and fishing businesses. But businesses which have catered to passers-through, are already borderline now. Places like Hamiltons. Restaurants and gas stations will close down completely. Gwinn's may survive due to it's niche and fishing connection. Wildman's and Sunrise will survive, but roadside businesses in Cooper Landing proper will die. I'm not talking B&Bs nor guide services, that's a whole different category. And note: I'm not saying that is bad, just saying it is so. Progress marches on.
    Last time I drove through there, there were not many "roadside businesses" that catered to the passer by customers. Either that or they were doing a really poor job of advertising because they did not stand out among the B&B and charter businesses. There are a few, but I would guess they are the minority in that area. And, as was mentioned above, any road improvement that did not bypass Cooper Landing would have wiped most of them out just by taking all of their road frontage property and likely many of the structures themselves.

  15. #15
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    Last time I drove through there, there were not many "roadside businesses" that catered to the passer by customers. Either that or they were doing a really poor job of advertising because they did not stand out among the B&B and charter businesses. There are a few, but I would guess they are the minority in that area. And, as was mentioned above, any road improvement that did not bypass Cooper Landing would have wiped most of them out just by taking all of their road frontage property and likely many of the structures themselves.
    Okay, sure.

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Anybody know how they're going to route Russian River traffic?

    -Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Anybody know how they're going to route Russian River traffic?

    -Mike
    I can't say for sure, but the existing road will likely stay just as it is, but function more as a "frontage" road than a main highway. People accessing the Russian River will likely just turn off the main highway onto that section from one end or the other, whichever is closest depending on the specific highway alternative chosen.

  18. #18
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    I can't say for sure, but the existing road will likely stay just as it is, but function more as a "frontage" road than a main highway. People accessing the Russian River will likely just turn off the main highway onto that section from one end or the other, whichever is closest depending on the specific highway alternative chosen.
    Yeah, that's what I was thinking, but with the large number of folks going to the Russian, I can't see how you would be able to turn in there from the West end. You would have to get across a lane of traffic... could be a major jam.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaHippie View Post
    Yep. I saw that. What I'm trying to figure out is what the interchanges look like; the places where you turn off. Is it going to be turning lanes? If so, I can see a huge line of Winnebagos trying to make the turn and not being able to get through the oncoming traffic. Granted, the oncoming traffic may take the new road, but there will still be a substantial amount of Russian River / Upper Kenai traffic to contend with.
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