By Carey Restino
It won’t just be RVs and moose that will slow down summer driving this year. A host of road improvements and projects are likely to bog traffic down in the area, city officials say.
The biggest of the projects is a repaving effort that will start on Pioneer Avenue and continue clear to Anchor Point, said Homer Public Works Director Carey Meyer.
Meyer said Pioneer Avenue reconstruction is planned to start this week and work northward. The road will be resurfaced, he said, which will likely result in lane closures and uneven pavement. Pioneer Avenue, as well as the Sterling Highway, is a state road and work will be done through the State Department of Transportation.
“I suspect they will be at it for a couple months,” Meyer said, including striping.
In addition, the city has a long list of repaving efforts around town, including Smoky Bay Way, Klondike Avenue, West Fairview Avenue, Town Heights, Greatland Street and the road to the airport as well as Fish Dock Road. There will be a bit of repaving on Soundview Avenue and some smaller projects around town as well, he said.
While no major delays are expected on any of those projects Meyer said he hopes drivers will slow down and watch out for workers.
A Limited Improvement District will be in place for Crittenden Drive and Waddell Street sometime this summer, Meyer said. The project is going to bid this week and will likely start up in June.
Beyond the paving projects, there is the natural gas pipeline construction project, which will be laying pipe along roadways through much of downtown Homer this summer.
ENSTAR has started moving its efforts into town, moving from west to east, and will be burying the pipe 3 to 4 feet deep between 5 and 8 feet from the road. Driveways may be disturbed in the process, but those disruptions will generally be short, Meyer said.
“There won’t be lane closures because in general they are outside the pavement,” Meyer said.
Other notable projects in Homer this year include the construction of four restrooms — two on the Spit and two in downtown. A public restroom is being constructed at the bottom of Bartlett Street as well as at the WKFL park near Heath Street and Pioneer Avenue.
Beyond the roadwork and gas line installation, trail-users expect some delays as well.
The Homer Spit Trial will be extended this summer from the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon to the end of the Spit.
The trail will jog over to the area overlooking the small boat harbor, and much of the construction work will occur later in the summer, when fewer people are in the popular tourist destination, but utility relocations and other preparatory work may occur before then, Meyer said.
Even boat travelers won’t escape the busy construction season. In the small boat harbor, there will be some float replacements and improvements, and Ramp 3 is going to be replaced this year.
Electrical work will occur on the east side of the harbor, though again, much of that work will occur after Labor Day.
“We are trying to work where there’s the least possible impact to the public, but there’s always going to be some,” Meyer said. “No matter how you get around, whether by boat, on foot or by car, there will be some projects that will impact you this summer and into next summer.
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