Otmeloi Way paving project delayed again

The Kodiak Island Borough is once again considering a deal with the state of Alaska over the paving of Otmeloi Way, a state-owned road near North Star Elementary School and home to many Service District 1 residents.

Funded through a combination of state and federal grants, the state is offering to pave Otmeloi if the Borough takes responsibility for future maintenance of the road.

While this may sound like a good deal for the residents of Service District 1 and parents who drive their kids to North Star, the Borough Assembly voted last week to postpone the contract.

Why? The state is proposing a two-and-a-half inch layer of asphalt for the road, when the standard is just a bit higher.

Assembly member Scott Arndt explains: “The minimum standards for the city of Kodiak for which all the paved roads of Service District 1 have been built to date. The city’s standard is 2 2-inch layers, or 3-inches of asphalt. What we’re doing is we’re allowing these roads to be built substandard.”

But Otmeloi does not get as much traffic as city roads, which is a reason to approve the state’s offer, as Assembly member Duane Dvorak argues: “Typically in Alaska you only pave roads that have high traffic or daily use, so I think this project’s been around a long time and the state will move on, and then our opportunity will be lost.”

However, this deal with the state is five years in the making, so the Assembly felt that taking a few more weeks to research other options, such as having the borough pay for that additional half-inch of asphalt, would be worth the work.

The Assembly will take up the resolution again in March.

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