Landslide debris surrounds part of Lowell Point Road on Friday, June 3, 2022, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Landslide debris surrounds part of Lowell Point Road on Friday, June 3, 2022, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Assembly looks to mitigate future Lowell Point Road dangers

Assembly members approved legislation supporting agencies working to address the “repetitive hazards”

The Kenai Peninsula Borough wants to become more proactive when it comes to mitigating disasters along Lowell Point Road.

Assembly members approved last week legislation supporting agencies working to address the “repetitive hazards” caused by Bear Mountain. The resolution comes about a month and a half after a landslide along the road severed access between the communities of Seward and Lowell Point.

The City of Seward, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce all issued disaster declarations for the area in the wake of the slide, which the Kenai Peninsula Borough has now estimated contained about 60,000 cubic yards of debris.

The same resolution authorizes borough administration to explore projects that would mitigate the dangers along Lowell Point Road in collaboration with other agencies and to explore alternate means of education for Lowell Point residents.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Emergency Manager Brenda Ahlberg wrote in a June 9 memo to assembly members that a post-landslide evaluation was prepared for the City of Seward by the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys to help determine the stability of Bear Mountain.

That survey, Ahlberg wrote, found that there is the potential for more large-scale sloughing from Bear Mountain that could cause landslides “similar to or greater than the May 7 event.” The same report recommended the monitoring of the mountain’s slopes.

“Due (to) the size and complexity of the problem and in order to provide safe, reliable transportation for Lowell Point residents, future mitigation efforts should involve the collective collaboration of local, state and federal partners,” Ahlberg wrote.

A unified command structure, which included the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the City of Seward and the State of Alaska Department of Homeland Security, was created in late May to support response efforts. Any mitigation work, Ahlberg said, should include exploring alternative transportation means in the area, like a boat ramp or dock.

While crews worked to clear slide debris from Lowell Point Road, many residents were left without a way to travel between the two communities. Free water taxi service between Seward and Lowell Point was made available for necessary travel, such as for residents or for people working in the community. That service, initially provided for free by Miller’s Landing Alaskan Fishing and Kayaking Outfitters, later expanded to include Aurora Charters as well as a shuttle service, and was subsidized in part by the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The resolution, which assembly members unanimously approved during their June 21 meeting, cites a desire to ensure “safe (and) reliable” transportation to Lowell Point, access to state and federal parks and protection of Seward’s city infrastructure. It also acknowledges a history of sloughing from Bear Mountain that has posed dangers to people and vehicles.

“Providing safe, reliable transportation to the community of Lowell Point, the City of Seward infrastructure, state parks, Kenai Fjords National Park and the Chugach National Forest should be done in collaboration with local, state and federal resources due to the size and complexity of mitigating the Road dangers,” the resolution says.

Lowell Point Road will be closed intermittently on Wednesday, June 29. Drivers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes with flaggers present while crews work, the city said. Metco Alaska will work Thursday to conduct final excavation and cleanup work and next week to place barriers in the slide area, the city said.

Updates about the status of the road, as well as additional closure information, is being shared by the City of Seward on the city’s Facebook page.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read