Emergency funds have been made available to repair damages caused by several recent winter storms.
During a special assembly meeting Friday, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted unanimously to extend the borough’s emergency disaster declaration and to appropriate $280,000 to make necessary repairs to public infrastructure caused by storms that brought high winds, rainfall, snowfall and power outages to much of the Kenai Peninsula.
Dan Nelson, emergency manager for the borough, spoke about damages caused by the winter storms to the assembly. Most of those impacts were in the southern peninsula, where heavy rainfall flooded streams and rivers, plugged culverts, caused mudslides and damaged both borough and state roadways.
“With this back-to-back weather system — what we experienced with the warming trend caused a significant amount of damage and a significant amount of effects on the Kenai Peninsula, whether it was just residents dealing with power outages and those things with transportation and icy roads and some of those other issues, to road damage to some of our infrastructure,” Nelson said at the special assembly meeting.
On the central peninsula, Nelson said there weren’t too many impacts from the storms. Nikiski and the Kenai, Soldotna and Sterling areas experienced power outages. Nelson said culverts were plugged along two streets near Kalifornsky Beach Road — Trawling Avenue and Dog Fish Avenue — causing drainage issues.
The eastern peninsula had small impacts as well. Nelson said most of the work done in the Seward area were preventative, where work was done to clear culverts and avoid drainage issues.
Nelson said work was done to make sure all of the roads that were impacted are passable. The funds appropriated Friday will allow the borough to continue making critical repairs.
Emergency disaster declarations are valid for seven days unless they are extended. The assembly voted to extend their declaration for 30 more days through a resolution, allowing for a more complete response.
The declaration calls upon the state for assistance, as the borough has expended significant resources in response to the storm damage.
The state is currently processing the borough’s request for assistance, Friday’s Alaska Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Situation Report said. The state Department of Transportation is also in the process of compiling response and repair costs to several roads on the Kenai Peninsula, according to the situation report.
The disaster declaration was enacted by Mayor Charlie Pierce Dec. 6, the same day the city of Seldovia issued their own declaration after winter storms caused widespread damage and power outages, impacting backup power generators. The declaration also highlighted the imminent threat of weather that came early this week when winter storms flooded roads and caused landslides in some areas of the southern peninsula.