Erosion of the Kenai bluff near the Kenai Senior Center. (Photo by Aidan Curtin courtesy Scott Curtin)

Erosion of the Kenai bluff near the Kenai Senior Center. (Photo by Aidan Curtin courtesy Scott Curtin)

Kenai bluff project contract awarded

The project aims to stabilize roughly 5,000 feet of bluff on the north shore of the Kenai River

Seattle-based Western Marine Construction will build the protective berm described by the Kenai Bluff Stabilization Project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Wednesday.

Work described by the contract, valued at $19.3 million, includes the placement of about 42,400 cubic yards of armor rock, 33,200 cubic yards of crushed rock and 13,100 cubic yards of gravel base, a Corps press release says. Construction is expected to begin this spring and to be completed by February 2026, the Corps said.

The project aims to stabilize roughly 5,000 feet of bluff on the north shore of the Kenai River by constructing a berm at the toe of the bluff from about the mouth of the river to Pacific Star Seafoods. The bluff is currently eroding by about 3 feet per year.

The announcement comes roughly five months after Corps staff joined state representatives and city officials in Kenai to sign the project partnership agreement, which allowed the project to go out to bid.

Corps District Commander Col. Jeffrey Palazzini celebrated the contract award in the Wednesday press release.

“This project is an example of our commitment to working alongside our partners and stakeholders to find engineering solutions to coastal erosion problems in Alaska,” Palazzini said in the release. “Together, we will build innovative, climate-resilient infrastructure that will protect communities and ecosystems for many years to come.”

Stabilization of the bluff in Kenai has been the city’s top capital priority for decades and took major leaps under the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the State of Alaska’s capital budget for fiscal year 2022. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski secured $28 million in federal funds for the project, while Gov. Mike Dunleavy set aside another $6.5 million.

More information about the Kenai Bluff Stabilization Project can be found on the City of Kenai’s website at kenai.city.

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

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