By Heidi Zemach for Seward City News
The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly recently appropriated $400,000 to
have a contractor remove some 20-30,000 cubic yards of gravel in Old
Mill Subdivision from the creek banks and conservation easements upon
which they sit.
Drive across the bridge on Timber Lane, off the Seward Highway, and
along the banks over Lost Creek, and you can’t miss the mounds.
Snow-covered gravel mounds everywhere, banked high on either side of
the road, on either side of the creek, and beyond. These gravel mounds
are collectively estimated to contain upwards of 20-30,000 cubic yards
of material, or about 1,700 dump-truck-loads full, if each truck
carries 16 cubic yards.
The gravel, silt, rocks, pebbles, mud, was dredged from below the
bridges and all along the raging creek bed before, and during the
mid-September 2012 floods to help protect the bridges, the road, and
residential properties downstream. Six of the most flood-prone homes
that had been located along the stream were recently bought-out by the
government and removed for flood mitigation purposes.
The gravel is not an allowed to sit on those new flood conservation
easements, however, and it will likely be washed back into the creek
again during the next flood event if not removed, said KPB Capital
Projects Director Kevin Lyon.
The borough has put the gravel removal project out to bid, via a
Request for Proposals, and is hoping to find contractors interested in
removing it according to Federal Emergency Management Agency
reimbursement protocol, so that the borough can get that sum
reimbursed, Lyon said.
Its potential value, or specific gradation, is unknown. “It’s all over
the map,” Lyon said. “It’s big stuff, and little stuff, everything
that the stream can move. But it could be a gold mine for someone.”
The borough is asking that contractors leave behind the riprap that
they find, and a certain amount of rocks of a certain size, and place
them in the right of way, so that the borough can use them to re-armor
The contractors would be responsible for what is done with the gravel
afterwards, whether that would be bringing it to a certain established
site for use by others, or salvaging it themselves.
The bids are due Jan 8th, 2013. The work would take place anywhere
from mid-January until April 8th, and could be extended longer.
At its Dec 4 meeting, The KPB assembly received the draft of the State
Funding Priorities for 2013 that includes capital project requests
from all Alaska cities, communities and service areas. KPB’s top
priority was there: a request of $5 million for Seward Bear Creek
flood mitigation. The borough hopes to use the money to establish a
capital fund devoted to funding ongoing flood mitigation projects, a
quarter of a mill property tax rate increase in the service area also
would be sought to generate local matching funds for projects.