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

By Annette Shacklett
LOG Editor 

Lowell Creek diversion in budgets


LOG File Photo

A backhoe works to clear debis from the path of water gushing out of Lowell Creek tunnel and into Resurrection Bay during the flood of October 2013

Funding for repairs on Lowell Creek Diversion Tunnel are included in the omnibus bill passed last week by the U.S. Congress. Partial funding for a study by the Army Corps of Engineers on alternatives in Lowell Canyon is in the governor's proposed budget.

The channel that diverts Lowell Creek from running down the streets of Seward is a 10-foot wide, 2,086-foot long tunnel that was blasted through Bear Mountain in 1939-40 to dump the creek into Resurrection Bay at the north end of Lowell Point Road.

In times of heavy rainfall or melt off, volumes of water, rock and vegetative debris rush down the creek to the tunnel with an ever-present possibility of clogging the tunnel, and forcing the creek to run down Jefferson Street.

The federal budget allocated $2.29 million for the Corps to repair the tunnel, according to a press release from Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

"Water flow and debris have damaged the tunnel intake transistion, tunnel entrance, tunnel sidewall and invert lining," reads a Corps invitation for bid. The repair works on the top 400 feet of the tunnel will include removing loose concrete and old railroad rail reinforcement and replace it with stronger reinforcement and concrete.

The work is expected to be done next winter.

Partial funding for creation of an Corps feasibility/scoping study into alternatives for controlling Lowell Creek 's flood surges is proposed in Gov. Bill Walker's budget released earlier this month. The state budget item is for $300,000. It would be part of the City of Seward $1.2 million portion for the proposed study.

"To date, there have been no comprehensive alternative studies performed," City Manager Jim Hunt told The LOG.


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