Kenai road washes out

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A Kenai city worker walks past a pump working to clear a backlog of water Tuesday October 29, 2013 on South Spruce Street in Kenai, Alaska.

If the owner of the minivan that dropped through South Spruce Street this morning was surprised, no one knows because the driver was gone by the time city officials got there.

Streets foreman Curt Wagoner took a call at about 5:15 a.m. that the road had been washed out and a vehicle was in the gaping approximately 16-by-35-foot ditch that opened after excessive water washed out the road.

Chunks of asphalt sat in the ditch Tuesday afternoon where three water pumps were working to clear the water long enough that city workers could put in a larger culvert and a temporary patch for the winter.

City Manager Rick Koch said city workers helped a tow truck driver pull the vehicle out of the ditch.

It’s the only time in his memory that the city has had a breach of roadway like the washout.

“The ground becomes super saturated, it reaches the point that it can’t hold anymore water,” he said.

Employees of the wastewater treatment plant can reach it via the pedestrian walkway off of South Forrest.

Wagoner said pumps would be working constantly until the patch could be put in place.

“In a couple of days a truck needs to leave the plant,” he said.

“Once the water has subsided, hopefully within that time we’ll get a culvert into place and backfill here.”

The area takes water drainage from several neighborhoods and everything north of the airport, Koch said.

“It’s probably the largest drainage coming through Kenai,” he said.

Other areas in town, including the Inlet Woods subdivision have standing water but Koch said he had not yet heard that anyone had a flooded home.


Reach Rashah McChesney at


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