Construction projects close recreation areas at the Chena Project

Posted on May 23, 2022

Two recreation areas will be temporarily closed to visitors while construction efforts are underway at the Chena River Lakes Flood Control Project in North Pole.

Currently, the Silt Blanket Parking Area is off-limits due to work on the Moose Creek Dam Modification Project. Located near the entrance station and accessed by the second ramp on Laurance Road, this site is scheduled to reopen on July 1. Also known as a “mega project,” the modification will reinforce the dam embankment with a mix-in-place concrete barrier wall. The purpose of the project is to address aging infrastructure and provide the greater Fairbanks region with protection during high-water events on the Chena River for many years to come.

Meanwhile, Moose Creek Road will be closed to public access starting May 23 for the Sill Protection Groin Repair Project. The structure protects the Chena Project from erosion and encroachment from the Tanana River. This work is scheduled for completion in October.

Vehicle and foot traffic is restricted at both closed locations. However, visitors are still welcome to recreate day-use areas along Laurance Road. To access the floodplain from these spots, take the stairs or ramps that cross over the dam. Driving or parking on the ramps or shoulders of the roadway is not allowed. Designated parking space is clearly marked within the day-use areas. Please do not go around barricades or “do not enter” signage. These sites are closed for public safety during the construction projects.

During normal operations, Moose Creek Dam regulates the flow of the Chena River at a rate of no more than 12,000 cubic feet per second in downtown Fairbanks. Although the floodplain behind the dam remains dry for most of the year, USACE officials may impound water when the river level runs high because of significant melting snow, ice jams or heavy rains. After the 1967 flood of Fairbanks that caused about $80 million in damages, the Chena Project was constructed in the 1970s to protect the city and surrounding communities from future disasters. Since then, the 7 ½ mile earthen dam has operated 30 times to keep local communities safe and prevent an estimated $418 million in flood damages.

To learn more about the Chena project, please visit: https://www.poa.usace.army.mil/Locations/Chena-River-Lakes-Flood-Control-Project/. Members of the public can direct their queries to the project office at 907-488-5402 or by email at public.affairs3@usace.army.mil.

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