This story originally published in the Peninsula Clarion.
An ordinance authorizing the borough to enter into an agreement, allowing for the sale and exchange of certain public roads, with the state Department of Transportation was postponed at last Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.
Several roads would be given to the borough in exchange for state acquisition of the Nikiski Emergency Escape Route.
“The state and the borough are trying to come — they haven’t actually gotten there yet — trying to come to an agreement on roads as well as maintenance,” assembly member Kenn Carpenter said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Who is going to maintain it for the next following three years. We have proposed that and we’re waiting for them to come back.”
Ogle said the proposed changes have not yet been agreed to, in writing, by the state.
“We’re wanting that to happen,” assembly President Wayne Ogle said. “We want to see it in writing. So this is being asked to be postponed.”
In an October letter from peninsula district superintendent for the state Department of Transportation, Carl High wrote borough roads director, Dil Uhlin, a proposal to trade ownership and maintenance of nine state-maintained roads for the borough-owned Escape Route, a dirt back road running between Nikiski and Kenai.
“In an attempt to find logical efficiencies that would benefit both the Kenai Peninsula Borough and that State of Alaska DOT, we would like to propose trading ownership and maintenance of the roads listed below,” the letter read.
State roads on the list for trade include sections of Secret Road, Longmere Way, Lakeshore Drive, Murray Lane, Marhenke Street, Dolores Drive, Cohoe Beach Road, Pollard Loop and Alta Loop. Total mileage for the state-maintained roads is 4.7 miles., while the Escape Route is about 4.6 miles in length. All of the roads are paved except Cohoe Beach Road, Pollard Loop Road and Alta Loop, according to the October letter.
If the agreement is approved, the borough would take over the maintenance, ownership and control of the state roads listed, giving up their responsibility for the Escape Route.
The state-maintained roads potentially being taken over by the borough are short segments of road contiguous to borough-maintained roads, according to a Feb. 7 memo from Uhlin to the assembly.
The ordinance was postponed until the April 2 meeting.