It is admirable that ADOT plans to “quickly” fix the airport runway, to “have it open and running in a week or two”, hoping that “the weather will cooperate” to allow them to restore and repave the missing runway.
This might be a tad unrealistic. Seward is still in the flood season. The river, loaded with glacier silt and debris, is pointed directly at the runway like a giant fire hose gone amuck. Will ADOT’s optimistic effort to paste a really expensive bandaid on the heavily eroded runway just become future fodder for the ravenous Resurrection River?
Check out the photos that I took on August 25 before the flooding really tore into the long runway. It is interesting to see where the river used to be, far to the east, when the Naval Radio Station and then the airport were built. The river channels have shifted dramatically, and now blast directly at the radio station powerhouse and runway. The last vestige of the radio station, the amazingly resilient power house, finally succumbed to the overwhelming forces earlier this year and collapsed. Repeated flooding over the years, continuing this year, has severely damaged the long runway/levee despite numerous repairs.
It is not impossible to move the river farther to the east. The Kenai Watershed Forum, working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Alaska Department of Fish and Game, realigned and restored a small portion of the Anchor River in a monumental and successful effort. <http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=wildlifenews.view_article&articles_id=523>
Might ADOT’s money be better spent on a real solution, realigning the river, instead of ineffective and expensive bandaids?