The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Wolfgang Kurtz
LOG Editor 

DOT road maintenance relocating to Crown Point

 

Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Construction for the new DOT Maintenance station at Mile 24 Seward Highway. The Crown Point site will provide ample room for equipment and materials storage as the old building is over 35 years old and too small.

In July the white painted skeleton of the new Crown Point Department of Transportation Maintenance and Operation station began rising above the construction site at milepost 24 of the Seward Highway. The City of Seward has had their eye on the property where the present facility is located and helped lobby to get the funding for the new construction.

The legislative request for funding the project noted that the existing building is over 35 years old, has a faulty roof, deteriorated siding and is too small to house the heavy equipment assigned to the Seward Maintenance Station. It also stated that numerous modifications would need to be made to make the facility and grounds usable for its intended purpose.

DOT's conclusion was that it would be more cost effective to construct a new, larger building on a larger piece of property and then relocate. The new lot is twice the size of the existing location.

From a standpoint of aesthetics, the winter piles of sanding material and general industrial look of the downtown Seward station have been a mounting issue over the years as the surrounding area grew up around it. The clash with adjacent residential and parkland areas underlines the city’s desire to free up the 2-acre property for redevelopment.

According to project manager, Ron Searcy, DOT advertised the project over the past winter and contractors began preparation of the site in earnest in May. The project is based on a design that was drawn up for a similar facility in Aniak. “What happened is that we built a similar building out at Aniak and we wanted to duplicate that process with the same floorplan,” Searcy said. “We already had a design done and it would be quicker and less expensive this way.”

The new structure and surrounding complex will replace the facility that is in Seward, with an eye toward a transition at the beginning of next year.

“The only problem is that its not in Seward anymore. If we had our druthers we would have preferred to keep it in Seward, but it didn’t fit,” Searcy said. “We’re still negotiating with the contractor over additional work putting in a generator room, but it will be probably January and February before move in.”

Searcy says the DOT tried to find some other property in town and found a site but couldn’t get zoning issues figured out. “There’s plenty of property available, but it’s either in residential areas or there’s some other issue,” Searcy said.

With snowplows, maintenance and material based at the other end of the maintenance district at milepost 24, response times to snowfall will be affected. Searcy thinks that some arrangement is in the works in cooperation with the city to stage equipment closer in. However, he’s not involved with operations and further information was not available by press time.

In any case, the existing property won’t be cleared for redevelopment by the city any time soon. The property has to be cleared and the existing building removed. As of yet, there’s no schedule for that to happen.

 

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