Accident rate garners road dubious distinction

Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 2006

KENAI - Thirty-one people died in traffic accidents on the Sterling Highway between Sterling and Soldotna from 1977 to 2005.

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That's enough to earn the stretch of highway the distinction of being named a traffic safety corridor by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

For the motorist, that means fines for speeding and other traffic infractions in the area will be doubled.

For the state, it means a three-prong program will be launched by the end of the year involving highway engineering, public education and law enforcement, according to DOT central region spokesman Rick Feller.

"The rollout means more than posting signs," Feller said, explaining that the state will start making people aware of the dangerous stretch of road as well as advising motorists of the double-fine zone.

He said new yellow-orange warnings will be attached to existing speed limit signs.

Movable message signs also will be deployed, he said.

The portion of the Sterling Highway from the truck weigh station in Sterling to the Soldotna "Y" is one of five traffic safety corridors designated in DOT's central region.

Others include a section of the Seward Highway from Mile 100 north of Girdwood to the Potter Marsh; the Palmer-Wasilla Highway from the Glenn Highway to the Parks Highway; the Parks Highway from Lucus Road to the Alaska Railroad crossing at Houston; and Knik-Goose Bay Road from the Parks Highway to Point McKenzie Road.

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