Kenai Spur Highway Relocation Feasibility Study
Consideration of a possible re-route for a portion of the Kenai Spur Highway is moving forward. The Alaska LNG team has completed a draft feasibility study, working in conjunction with Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT) and the Kenai Peninsula Borough (KPB). The study process and a summary of the study highlights are being shared with the public over the coming months.
“Through our partners at HDR Alaska, an initial public open house was held in Nikiski in mid-October and we intend to hold another in the area in early 2016,” said Alaska LNG Project team member Jeff Raun.
Right now part of the Kenai Spur Highway runs through the proposed site for the LNG plant in Nikiski. Rerouting part of the highway has been recommended to ensure public safety and to reduce traffic impacts on the Kenai Peninsula during the estimated five or six years it would take to construct the multi-billion dollar LNG plant.
The study that began this spring examined a number of factors involved in relocating the highway including traffic flow, design speed, safety features, geographic conditions and access considerations. The study also looked at community, environmental, utilities, contracting and construction requirements.
Once an initial list of key issues were identified, preliminary alternatives were defined, refined, and evaluated. For example, the KPB and ADOT expressed concerns over erosion to the existing Kenai Spur Highway near milepost 18, and to having public transportation routed through the existing industrial corridor. “As a result, we are looking at how to avoid bluff erosion at South Miller Loop Road and how to separate residential traffic c from an existing industrial portion of the highway,” said Raun.
The Alaska LNG Project participants are working with the State of Alaska to develop the right forward plans, including determining who pays for the different elements of the work. These parties include the Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (AGDC), ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and BP.
Creating a new route for the road carries an estimated price tag of $4 million per mile, or about $20 million for a nominal 5-mile road segment. According to Raun, these costs do not include engineering, permitting, project management, quality assurance, regulatory land acquisition or right-of-way costs.
With the initial draft of the feasibility study complete, the Alaska LNG Project team is looking ahead to the next phase of the engineering eftort and to continuing a dialogue with the community.
“With the Department of Transportation and Kenai Peninsula Borough, we will determine the regulatory and engineering steps needed to potentially relocate the road; then we will develop a land acquisition program. Public input gathered at the Kenai Spur Highway Open House in October is being incorporated into the on-going feasibility studies, and we welcome public input throughout this project,” said Raun.
While a final route has not yet been determined, the new road would meet applicable state and local requirements. The final version of the feasibility study is expected to be complete later this year.