- Associated Press - Saturday, April 29, 2017

KASILOF, Alaska (AP) - Plans to improve highways will result in better fish passage and overall safety, state officials said.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities showed the latest draft of its plans for the Sterling Highway Milepost 97-118 Project on Wednesday, the Peninsula Clarion reported (https://bit.ly/2qgactf). The department plans to widen the highway’s shoulders from 4 feet wide to 8 feet on the stretch from Soldotna and Clam Gulch.

There were 266 accidents in the area between 2006 and 2010, according to the department’s data, 93 of which officials say could have been avoided with wider shoulders.

Other highway improvements include better signage, a safety edge and the replacement of culverts. The project’s price tag is about $30 million to $40 million, not counting the fish passage culverts. The costs will be covered by the federal government as part of the Highway Safety Improvement Plan.

The new culverts will affect a Slikok Creek tributary, Coal Creek and an unnamed creek near Clam Gulch and Crooked Creek and result in improved fish passage and stream function in the area, officials said. Changes at Coal Creek may even create more habitat for salmon, they said.

“It’s going to be quite a boon to the area,” said Greg Hartman, the consultant coordinator on the project for the transportation department.

Officials plan to start construction next summer.

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, https://www.peninsulaclarion.com


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