Contract awarded for airport tree cutting

Susan and Les Bradley want to know when their trees will fall.

 

The Kenai residents live on Float Plane Road at the edge of the Kenai Municipal Airport, and the Federal Aviation Administration mandates that the city limb or remove almost 2,000 trees obstructing the airport’s runway.

“Right now we’re in limbo, because we don’t know what’s going on with the tree removal,” Les said at Wednesday’s Kenai city council meeting.

Trees in the Bradley’s and 13 other privately owned properties are obstructing the runway’s flight path, said Mary Bondurant, airport manager. Kenai has avigation easements on eight of the properties, but the city will need to work with the remaining property owners before it can cut their trees, she said.

“Ideally all the runway protection zones, the property around that area should be owned by the airport,” she said.

Bondurant acknowledges that the project is sensitive, but the city can set no date for tree cutting on those private properties yet, she said.

The majority of the 1,992 trees, however, sit on city and airport owned property, she said. And at Wednesday’s meeting, council awarded a contract to Gage Tree Service to trim or fell obstructing trees. The contractor estimates the project cost at $340,800. The project will begin after July 15 and end by Sept. 30.

FAA requires the airport maintain a 40-to-one departure surface. Any trees protruding into the zone must be trimmed five to 10 feet.

The project targets 1,213 trees for removal and 779 trees for partial cutting on city and airport land. It will also clear cut and seed 7.5 acres in the airport’s fencing.

The Bradleys were concerned about the buffer strip of trees separating Float Plane Road and the airport. The contractor will trim the tops of the trees parallel to Float Plane Road and city lots 123 173 and 174, and the city will plant lower-growing trees to maintain the buffer before the topped trees are finally removed, according to project documents.

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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