Wal-Mart construction, runway project move forward in Kenai

Posted: Sunday, May 21, 2006

Kenai residents have not heard or seen much about Wal-Mart since plans for a new super center were announced late last year, but a consultant working for the giant retailer assured the city council the project is moving forward.

Anchorage engineering consultants Lounsbury & Associates representative Tom Adams outlined his firm’s schedule for work on the development, which will put a 235,000 square-foot combination grocery and general merchandise store on 37 acres of airport property behind Kenai Chrysler Center.

“We did our field survey in January and February, and you probably saw our people out collecting traffic data at several intersections,” Adams said.

“Next we’ll be doing our draft study and hope to present it to the council soon,” he said.

The engineers also will do wetlands studies in June and “geo-technical studies” in late June or early July, according to Adams.

“We need to find out exactly what is below the ground there,” he said.

He said the firm will prepare a site design, and meet with the community to discuss the plan.

Engineering designs will be submitted next fall and the building project will be put out for bid in the winter.

“We hope to turn dirt next spring,” Adams said.

The city council also heard from Phil Bryson of Wince-Corthell-Bryson, the Kenai engineering firm overseeing the Kenai Municipal Airport runway improvement project.

“The project is ... out for bid right now,” Bryson said.

In its initial phase, the project calls for extending the airport’s float plane basin, building emergency access roads, extensive relocation of perimeter fencing and building two new entrances to the extended runway.

In phase two, which will run from next winter through the 2007 construction season, the north end of the runway will be extended 250 feet putting the same length of the south end into a mandated safety zone.

Runway shoulders also will be widened and runway navigational aids will be replaced, Bryson said.

While extension and resurfacing work is being done on the runway, air traffic will use the new taxiway currently being extended to the entire length of the runway.

Last week’s council meeting opened with Mayor Pat Porter proclaiming this week as Veterans of Foreign Wars Buddy Poppy Week.

In presenting a copy of the official proclamation to longtime VFW and American Legion service officer Herb Stettler, Porter also gave the Korean War Army veteran a homemade cake decorated with large red poppies made of icing “for your many years of service to the community,” she said.

The VFW Buddy poppies, which are assembled by disabled veterans, are sold annually to raise money for the veterans service organization.

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