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)

Work on Lowell Point landslide to end Friday

The announcement comes more than a month after a slide wiped out Lowell Point Road

Work on a landslide that wiped out part of Lowell Point Road is expected to conclude today at 12 p.m., the City of Seward said Thursday, however, motorists should continue to exercise caution. The announcement comes just over a month after the slide, estimated by the City of Seward to contain 40,000 cubic yards of debris, severed access between Seward and the community of Lowell Point on May 7.

“Crews have been working diligently to loosen and remove unstable rocks, boulders, and fallen trees in order to stabilize the slide area,” the city said in a Thursday release. “They have done all they can do for now, and the road will be opened for vehicle access to the Lowell Point community.”

Workers with Metco Alaska LLC and Advanced Blasting Services have worked since the slide to remove debris in the area. 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.

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.

The road reopened to two-lane traffic at the end of May, with motorists encouraged to exercise caution. Until Friday, the road was closed for two four-hour blocks while clearing work continued, according to a schedule posted by the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management.

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.

All free water taxi and shuttle bus service, as well as special parking services made available for eligible travelers, ended Wednesday.

Those traveling along Lowell Point Road are still asked to be cautious, the City of Seward said Thursday, and to be prepared for “intermittent” road closures if additional clearing work is needed. Travelers are also asked to report any signs of instability along the road and to not stop while driving.

“The city will continue to monitor and assess the slide area, and will consult with geologists and other experts for future mitigation work,” a city press release said.

Updates about the status of the slide area are being shared on the borough’s KPB Alerts Facebook page and on the City of Seward’s Facebook page, as well as at kpboem.blogspot.com.

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

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