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Beaver Loop Road culvert project delayed three weeks

Posted: June 16, 2014 - 10:13pm  |  Updated: June 16, 2014 - 10:19pm
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An employee with Endries Company stands on a new culvert being installed beneath Beaver Loop Road Monday. The Kenai Watershed Forum is overseeing the project that will allow juvenile fish to migrate from Beaver Creek to the Kenai River. Groundwater has delayed the completion of the project for three more weeks but expected to be done the second week in July. A section of the road has been closed, cutting residents off from the Kenai Spur Highway intersection.  Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion
Photo by Dan Balmer/Peninsula Clarion
An employee with Endries Company stands on a new culvert being installed beneath Beaver Loop Road Monday. The Kenai Watershed Forum is overseeing the project that will allow juvenile fish to migrate from Beaver Creek to the Kenai River. Groundwater has delayed the completion of the project for three more weeks but expected to be done the second week in July. A section of the road has been closed, cutting residents off from the Kenai Spur Highway intersection.

For the past three weeks, Kenai residents Andrew and Sara Smith have had to drive 30 miles out of their way every day to get to work in Soldotna.

Sara Smith, who works at Lucky Raven Tobacco on the Kenai Spur Highway, lives half a mile down Beaver Loop Road from the Spur Highway intersection. But a road closure to replace a culvert between her house and the intersection has forced her to drive to the other end of Beaver Loop Road to Bridge Access Road and through Kenai instead. To make matters more complicated, their mailbox is on the other side of the construction site.

“I haven’t checked my mail in a week because I don’t have the extra gas to go all the way around and back after work at midnight,” she said. “It has been nothing but a pain in the butt.”

The road closure is for a Kenai Watershed Forum project to replace a culvert to improve fish passage for tributaries to the Kenai River beneath Beaver Loop Road. Robert Ruffner, executive director of the watershed forum, said the old culverts were structurally deficient and prevented juvenile fish from accessing habitat.

Residents of Beaver Loop Road that have been cut off from access to the Spur Highway will have to wait longer before the road opens. The project, which was originally expected to be completed June 11, has been delayed another three weeks, because of complications with high levels of groundwater, Ruffner said.

The contractor, Endries Company from Soldotna, requested an extension from the Department of Transportation, which will complete the road after the culvert and water and sewer lines under the road have been completed, Ruffner said.

“The project is a little behind schedule,” Ruffner said. “The contractor had some challenges with water and sewer mains that they were installing and the amount of groundwater. The recent rain hasn’t helped much either.”

Kenai City Manager Rick Koch said the city expects the road to be open in time for the personal-use dipnet fishery, which opens July 10.

Pete Endries, the general contractor, said it’s inconvenient but his crew is working diligently to finish the job. He said he didn’t like that the reader board on the Spur Highway said the road would be open June 11.

“I don’t like to a have a timeline set because people get upset when projects don’t get completed in time,” Endries said. “The groundwater and weather has made a mess of things and my guys are working hard to finish.”

On Monday a crew of six used heavy equipment and pumps to remove groundwater, while half of the new culvert was in place. Endries said his team was waiting on some heavy equipment to arrive, which slowed down their progress.

Elaina Sedivy, who lives next door to the Smiths, said the road closure has affected her, but the crew has done what they can for the locals. Sedivy said she works at Soldotna Kids Early Learning Center on the Spur Highway and has to open the daycare at 6 a.m. To save her commute time she parks on the other side of the construction and walks around the hole in the road.

Andrew Smith said the delay is frustrating. He only has one car and has had to take his wife to work before he goes to work. His babysitter lives in Sterling and has to drive the long way to get to their house.

Andrew Smith said he is concerned the project will not be completed in time for the start of dipnet season, which would greatly impact Beaver Loop Road residents who could only use Bridge Access Road.

“They need to get this road open,” he said. “Nobody will be able to get out. There are going to be a lot of accidents. It’s going to shut down this whole area.”


Reach Dan Balmer at

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jford 06/16/14 - 10:37 pm
Break out the smelling salts, and prepare the feinting couches.

Andrew has an over excited imagination.

A temporary road detour isn't going to shut down the whole area.

Suss 06/17/14 - 08:50 am
Beaver Loop is shut down

To this man his "whole area" is shut down. This is not to be made fun of.

I feel for those impacted. The working families, the many trips that active and engaged people must make on a daily basis, has to be taking a toll on time and finances.

Try three kids, all involved in different sports and programs. Now juggle your schedule with a 30 mile, 45 minute detour, per event.

A little compassion is much appreciated for the hard working active families that are impacted.

jford 06/17/14 - 11:00 am
When one over hypes the impact of their temporary detour,

they've relinquished their claim.

Compassion is a sense of shared suffering. I don't share the hysteria.

Hysteria is the result of high exaggeration and often a desire to manipulate.

Commiserating with the hysterical might be a trait shared by some, there's evidence to show that actually happens, you only have to look at the teaparty [filtered word]s, however, commiseration with hysteria isn't going to be in any way productive.

Over inflating a tire will likely lead to a blowout. I don't recommend it.

alaskan_cookie 06/17/14 - 07:41 pm
Lack of traffic has been a nice break

I'm one of the few that live on the Spur side of the closure, and I'm loving the cul-de-sac like living right now! The speed limit on Beaver Lp is 45 mph and so few people actually drive that. We're only a block in and too many idiots are going 55 before they even reach my house. Motorcyclists, sporty cars, and big trucks tend to love to cruise through at 70+ which is irresponsible and a danger to not only themselves but everyone else traveling or living on the road. This is the first month in the nine years I've lived here that it's been so peaceful and I don't have to worry about people speeding by when I'm exiting my drive, checking the mail, or gardening.

Most people after the first week of the closure got the hint and didn't come down the road again. But 75% of those that do still, from either end, whip through the circle drives [filtered word] off that they can't get through, which in turn is throwing rocks at our houses and vehicles and making a dust bomb.

This is a needed project that is taking longer than the initial estimation. It is inconvenient for many people, but it's not the end of the world. My main concern is that drivers have respect during and after construction. Please don't speed or drive like idiots, and look out pedestrians and cyclists on the road!

kksalm 06/18/14 - 12:24 pm
3 weeks? Not

They aren't even half way done. Too much ground water? 8 inch self priming pump, like the experienced culvert installers use.
It appears to be half done. 2 out of 4 pieces of culvert are on the ground. They should concentrate on bringing up the grade on those two pipes to have some kind of access, limited at least.
Why did they place the dirt on the East side of the project? They limited their own access of gravel, equipment and worker delivery.
Just sayin', being an armchair quarterback.
Have a wonderful day!

jlmh 06/22/14 - 02:18 pm
Not 30 miles

Did any one even confirm these testimonies? From one side of the culvert to the other is exactly 9 miles. That means that a round trip is 18 miles out of the way, at most. Unless the Smiths are the last residence on Beaver Loop, it's even less. If they only have one car and drive 30 miles out of their way, they're measuring more than the detour. Or else they don't plan their travel very well, and make separate trips. Exaggeration indeed.

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