Work starts this week on Beach Road


July 8, 2021

Southeast Road Builders plans to start work Friday morning under a $166,760 borough contract to remove debris from the December landslide across Beach Road, digging down several feet to create sloped embankments on either side for improved safety of a temporary access road for residents and utility work.

The roadwork will allow Alaska Power & Telephone to install poles and restore service, and fuel trucks to make deliveries to residences in the area, Mayor Doug Olerud said last week.

The borough assembly unanimously approved the contract at a special meeting July 1.

The work will start at 6 a.m. Friday, with Beach Road closed through 10:30 a.m. Saturday, interim borough manager Alekka Fullerton reported Wednesday. After a weekend opening, the road will close again at 6 a.m. Monday, she reported in an email.

The work will include removing and hauling almost 5,400 cubic yards of debris from the road to Community Waste Solutions, where it will be used as cover material at the landfill; spreading 720 cubic yards of aggregate for a new, temporary road surface; along with cleaning and flushing drainage culverts beneath the road.

Glacier Construction, doing business as Southeast Road Builders, was the only responsive bidder for the work, reported the borough, which expects Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover the project costs.

The assembly called a special meeting to approve the contract so that work could begin sooner than waiting for the next regularly scheduled meeting two weeks later.

The excavation and rebuilding work is expected to take about two weeks.

The road work could not start until engineers determined that the area was stable enough for the removal work, without endangering the crews.

The contractor will notify property owners along the road of closures and work activity, the Mayor said at the assembly meeting. Beach Road will be closed during the day while work is underway, except when temporary access is needed for emergency personnel.

The road will be opened in the evenings.

Hauling that much mud and debris will require a lot of truck traffic, Olerud said. Assembly member Gabe Thomas urged the public to stay out of the area. “No looky-loos,” he said at the meeting.

The borough has instructed the contractor to direct its trucks from Beach Road to Mud Bay Road, then to FAA Road to the landfill.

In addition to the road work, Portland-based Landslide Technology, a subcontractor to Alaska-based R&M Consultants, will be back on the job this week, continuing its investigation of the slide area, the Mayor said. The geotechnical survey will include investigating the subsurface geology to learn as much as possible about the area and potential for further slides.

“The main issue with the slide is that there is a crack (in the bedrock) at the top that extends to the east,” the Mayor said.

After learning more about the cause of the slide and future stability of the area, and what could be done to lessen the risks, the borough could move to rebuilding a permanent road and utilities, he said.

The Landslide Technology crew also will monitor the area during the roadwork to watch for any problems.

The December slide killed two people and destroyed nine homes, with the slide and accompanying rainstorms damaging dozens more residences.


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