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USACE celebrates start of Kenai coastal erosion project

Sen. Lisa Murkowski cuts a ribbon to signify the beginning of the Kenai Bluff Bank Stabilization project alongside officials from Sen. Dan Sullivan's office, City of Kenai, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

Posted on June 13, 2024

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON – Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Alaska District participated in a ceremony to recognize the start of construction for the Kenai River Bluffs Erosion Project.

Col. Jeffrey Palazzini, district commander, gathered alongside several stakeholders and political officials at the Kenai Senior Citizens Center and delivered remarks about the project’s significance. In attendance was Sen. Lisa Murkowski and representatives from the office of Sen. Dan Sullivan; Brian Gabriel, mayor of the City of Kenai; and Peter Micciche, mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

“Today’s ceremony marks the culmination of years of hard work from federal, state, local and private stakeholders to begin constructing the Kenai River Bluffs Erosion Project,” Palazzini said. “It is a project that showcases what we can achieve together as a team to find engineering solutions for our nation’s toughest challenges.”

Western Marine Construction of Seattle, Washington, will construct a protective rock berm along the north bank of the Kenai River near the city. During the 2024 season, the company’s focus will be on producing rock that will contribute to the 42,400 cubic yards of armor rock; 33,200 cubic yards of crushed rock and 13,100 cubic yards of gravel needed to create the 5,000-foot-long protective berm. Currently, this work is underway at the Sand Point quarry in western Alaska and emplacement will begin in 2025.

The project is designed to shield the lower portion of the bluff from storm damage and prevent erosion along the newly protected shoreline. When construction is complete, the stones at the toe of the bluff will prevent the tides and currents in the river from taking the bank material and will allow the upper slope to transform from a steep and barren bluff to a stable and vegetated riverbank.

Funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the contract award is valued at about $19.3 million for this construction.

“We appreciate the support of our state leaders and Congressional delegation, who ensure this project had the funding it would need to become a reality for the community,” Palazzini said. “We will continue to build upon the collaborative partnership with the City of Kenai over the next two years of construction.”

In 2022, USACE received about $1 billion worth of civil works construction projects in the state following the passage of the infrastructure law as well as the Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. Other major projects funded by these two pieces of legislation include the Port of Nome Modification Project; Lowell Creek Flood Diversion Project in Seward; Moose Creek Dam Modification Project in North Pole; Elim Subsistence Harbor Project; and the Barrow Alaska Coastal Erosion Project in Utqiagvik.


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