DOT battles erosion along Sterling Highway

  • By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • Monday, August 11, 2014 10:50pm
  • News

Crews are working to stop the Kenai River from threatening the integrity of the Sterling Highway at Mile 57 west of Cooper Landing.

Department of Transportation & Public Affairs spokesperson Jill Reese said Tutka LLC, which has locations in Wasilla and Anchorage, began work to lay riprap — rocks — along the Kenai River bank last week.

The Kenai River along the highway has been changing its course lately, which has been causing roadside erosion, Reese said. The riprap should keep the erosion from worsening.

“(Crews will) always be checking on it to make sure that it’s working and it’s not getting any worse, but it should pretty well cap it,” Reese said.

According to the National Weather Service, the Kenai River at Cooper Landing was observed at 11.9 feet at 3 p.m. on Monday. Flood stage is 13 feet. Reese said while it’s easier to work when water levels are lower, the department decided to begin the project.

“I think (department officials) just felt that it was imperative enough to get this work done that they’re just going ahead and going for it,” she said.

The riprap work is part one of the project, she said, which should wrap up by mid-September. This portion of the project costs about $450,000.

Next fall DOT&PF plans to move the highway as a permanent fix, Reese said. However, because the permitting process to move the road is lengthy, DOT&PF determined shoring up the river was necessary this year. DOT&PF is in the STIP — Statewide Transportation Improvement Program — phase for this part of the project.

“(DOT&PF officials) do anticipate moving the highway just a little bit north away from the river,” she said. “And they’re also probably going to be doing some bank work to reshape the river there just a little bit so we have less of an impact, less of a curve, so the river flows better.”

The estimated cost for the project is about $8 million. Reese said DOT&PF expects to have funding for the project in the next fiscal year and begin construction in the fall. The high dollar figure is because extra work will have to be done to minimize impacts to the river, she said.

Reese said the department began looking at the erosion at Mile 57 and planning work last June.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com

More in News

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)
Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
5 more COVID deaths reported

The total nationwide fatalities surpass population of Alaska.

Velda Geller fills goodie bags at the Kenai Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 for next weekend’s drive-through trick-or-treat event. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘This has been a lifesaver’

Seniors seek human connection as pandemic continues.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A very slippery slope that we need to be careful of’

Approval of library grant postponed after Kenai council requests to preview book purchases

This undated photo released by the Alaska State Department of Public Safety shows Robin Pelkey just before her 18th birthday. The remains of a woman known for 37 years only as Horseshoe Harriet, one of 17 victims of a notorious Alaska serial killer, have been identified through DNA profiling as Robin Pelkey, authorities said Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Alaska State Department of Public Safety via AP)
DNA match IDs serial killer’s victim after 37 years

Robin Pelkey was 19 and living on the streets of Anchorage when she was killed by Robert Hansen in the early 1980s, investigators said.

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Most Read