A project to improve safety on the Sterling Highway will not have significant impact on the “human environment,” according to a project assessment released by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities in December.
The DOT&PF completed an environmental assessment of the safety corridor project and concluded that there would be minimal environmental impact. However, it would not have a significant impact on the environment.
Sterling Safety Corridor Improvements is estimated to cost $76.4 millionYou are eligible for federal fundingThe project factsheet states that it is dependent on the environmental assessment data.
According to the assessment, environmental categories that did not have project-imposed consequences included air, coastal barriers, coast zone, cultural resource, farmland and fish habitat, floodplains and joint development.
The assessment revealed that construction could have potential impacts on energy use, noise levels and traffic delays. There may also be potential hazards from hazardous material exposure. Wildlife avoidance in the project area is possible as well as environmental changes in wetland and migratory bird habitat and the spread of invasive species.
The impact assessment stated public comments “were generally in support of the proposed improvements, though not all attendees agreed.” The report noted that local highway users “continued to acknowledge the increasing levels of congestion and delay, as well as the number of crashes” generally expressing “a strong desire for improvements.”
According to Clarion reports, some business owners along the 11.5-mile stretch were concerned about the project. The depressed median would limit access to the other side of the highway.
According to the DOT&PF, there would be no significant environmental impacts from the highway project. The department can now start to finalize the project’s design and request federal funding, the fact sheet says.
The stretch highway to be improved reaches from Fred Meyer in Soldotna to the bridge over Moose River in Sterling — or Mile 82.5 to Mile 94 on the Sterling Highway. The project will create four lanes with a low median, separate bike and pedestrian pathways north of the highway, turn lanes and intersection realignments.
The 11.5-mile project area was designated as a Traffic Safety Corridor in 2009. This is a highway stretch with safety features. higher-than-average vehicle accident rates.
There is currently no timeline for construction. However, the factsheet states that construction can start as soon as 2026, if funding is provided in a timely fashion. The project is expected take up to three years.
Reach reporter Camille Botello at email@example.com.