Crane overturned at construction site for Beaver Loop Road culvert project

Employees of Soldotna-based Endries Company overturned a crane Wednesday as it attempted to remove a portion of a culvert from a project site on Beaver Loop Road about a quarter mile from the road’s intersection with the Kenai Spur Highway.

The crane was still on its side late Wednesday afternoon and a man on-site, Aron Endries, said pictures of the accident were not allowed.

Aron Endries and company owner Peter Endries, later moved a piece of grading equipment in front of the overturned crane.

It was unclear how long it would take the company to turn over the crane.

Project engineer Bill Nelson said Peter Endries was trying to round up the equipment to lift the crane.

Nelson and Peter Endries said no one was injured during the accident.

Employees of Endries Company, the general contractor for the project, were trying to move a 20-foot long section of an old culvert when the crane overturned, Nelson said.

“I wasn’t there when the crane tipped over, so I don’t know the exact conditions,” he said.

The Beaver Loop culvert replacement project has been subjected to several delays since it began. Originally, it was scheduled for completion in early June. Then project managers said it would be open to traffic July 26. Now the target date is Aug. 9.

“I think (Endries) is still on target to have the road open August 9,” Nelson said. “That was the date for his most recent time extension from the (Department of Transportation). I think he’s on track for that, but I can’t guarantee it.”

The culvert set to be replaced has been completely removed and backfilled and a new, larger culvert, is in place, Nelson said.

“I think that obviously the very difficult part is behind us, all the difficult and technical parts, the de-watering, the stream diversion … the stream had been temporarily diverted through an overflow project and has now been restored through its original path through the new culvert,” Nelson said.

There has been a noticeable improvement in stream flow and movement of juvenile salmon fry in the creek, Nelson said.

The project is one of the Kenai Watershed Forum’s fish passage projects and was designed to replace an old culvert with one that would allow salmon to move freely through the creek which feeds into the Kenai River.

“If you just look into the stream on a clear day like this, kind of just focus for a little while, you’ll see lots of little fry both upstream and downstream of that culvert,” Nelson said. “It’s working.”

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