A recent $40,000 repair to the Porcupine Road won’t be standard operating procedure in the future, Haines Borough officials warned this week.

Public facilities director Brad Ryan is warning residents and users of the Porcupine Road that if the road washes out again this year, there likely won’t be funds to fix it.

More than a mile of the road sits in an alluvial flood plain. “It is a fix that we are always going to be doing unless we put tons and tons of money into it. It is always going to need to be addressed,” Ryan said.

Ryan and manager Bill Seward checked out the road’s condition late last week.

“We stood up on the embankment and the river level — the water table — is higher than the road, hence why the road is saturated,” Seward said.

Ryan said the road washed out earlier this month, and the borough spent $40,000 dumping 570 cubic yards of material in as an emergency fix.

“It worked fine. It’s a good fix, but there are areas right downstream of it that we are worried might wash out again,” Ryan said.

As interim manager at the time, Ryan was allowed to spend up to $50,000 in emergency situations. “It came up unexpectedly and I was just concerned about safety. If you came around that corner in the dark, you would drown. If you went in there it would have been ugly,” he said.

“Had I had time to plan it, I wouldn’t have done that. But at the time it was either fix it or block the road. Either way we would have had to put money in to do either of those actions. The $40,000 was expensive, but it made it safe until we could let the public know that we’re not going to do it again.”

The road sees little use aside from Constantine Metal Resources and RAW TV crews, and Ryan hopes to talk to those companies about road upkeep.

“This is a little bit of a warning that we have to have a bigger discussion,” he said.

Ryan said he fixed the road because of the safety issue, not because the borough wanted to offer special treatment to Constantine or film crews that use the area. He also said he would support a cost-sharing initiative where the users contribute to the road’s maintenance.

The area accessed by Constantine and film crews can also be reached by the lengthier Sunshine Mountain Road.

Porcupine Road isn’t flooded right now, but could soon be if heavy rains or warm temperatures spur rapid glacial melt, Ryan said.

“We aren’t intending to put more money into it this year. If it washes out again we’ll probably put a berm in and say, ‘Road closed due to safety.’”

Forester Greg Palmieri said the Department of Transportation passively managed and maintained the road for years after statehood, though it was just a trail for decades. In 1997 or 1998, the trail washed out and DOT stopped maintaining it.

In the early 2000s, John Schnabel received an easement from the Department of Natural Resources to put the road in its current location. The borough took over the road about five years ago, Palmieri said.