Group mulls Salcha flood solutions

Posted: Friday, August 08, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) About 100 Salcha residents will receive home flood-proofing kits.

The kits consisting of written materials and how-to information are being developed by a task force set up in response to frequent flooding in the community.

''I think our big task is to develop a short-term, cost-efficient program that can be instituted in that community right now,'' said Tim Biggane, Fairbanks North Star Borough emergency services director.

Biggane, who attended a task-force meeting Thursday, dubbed the Tanana River Flooding-Salcha Area Task Force. Gov. Frank Murkowski and borough Mayor Rhonda Boyles called for the task force because of frequent flooding in the area, located about 35 miles south of Fairbanks, the last few years.

The state and borough have declared it a disaster area the last two years. Periodic high waters have washed out roads and flooded septic systems and homes, spawning damage estimates in the millions.

Department of Transportation Commissioner Mike Barton, Boyles and representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were among the roughly 25 people at the task-force meeting, which was held in Fairbanks.

''I think what we accomplished today is that we established some teamwork,'' Salcha resident Carolyn Lincoln, a member of the group, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''We have all of these high-powered agencies with all of their resources that are finally sitting down at the table to work together.''

In addition to the kits, Biggane said members of the task force will examine stream flows and drainage for potential improvements. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is again conducting a study of options for a long-term solution.

Solutions could include more levees and changes to the subdivision, such as raising houses, roads and septic tanks, said David Williams, a project manager for the corps who attended the meeting.

DOT officials are planning to raise and resurface the Old Richardson Highway to make it more flood-resistant, said Barton. And an erosion-control dike on the Tanana River will receive repairs.

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