US$375 million Sterling Highway reconstruction in Alaska to start soon

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The US$375 million Sterling Highway reconstruction in Alaska has been slated to begin in the summer this year. The project, taking place near the community of Cooper Landing, will include widening lanes while work continues on the cultural preservation of an Indigenous tribal site. The Cooper Landing Bypass Project is not expected to be completed until 2025 and will improve highway safety on the stretch of road heavily used by those traveling to the Kenai Peninsula from Anchorage. In all, 10 miles of the new road will be constructed between mileposts 46.2 and 56.

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Sterling Highway reconstruction in Alaska includes upgrading existing roads to current highway standards, including widening lanes to 12 feet and shoulders to 8 feet. Also planned are retaining walls and wildlife crossings. The state will try to schedule work at night and around weekends to keep traffic delays as minimal as possible, but there will be disruptions in the area that attracts fishermen and other outdoor fans. The transportation department and the Kenaitze Indian Tribe have collaborated because the new highway alignment will go through the Squilantnu Archaeological District, which contains some known historical sites. A survey last summer allowed archaeologists to roughly define the boundaries of some of the sites, but the highway project will unfortunately not be able to avoid the area entirely.

Other work planned this summer will be prepared for the construction of a steel deck arch bridge that will cross Juneau Creek. The state will start building from both sides and meet in the middle. Completion is expected in 2025, and access to the bridge from both sides will be built this summer. Once completed, the US$375 million projects will include reconstruction of the east and west ends of the existing roadway, construction of 10 new miles of road north of Cooper Landing and the Kenai River, a park parking lot and trailhead at Resurrection Pass, the new bridge and four wildlife crossing structures.