Children attending Fiddleheads Preschool line up along the fence at Cope Park to watch an excavator dredge Gold Creek on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Children attending Fiddleheads Preschool line up along the fence at Cope Park to watch an excavator dredge Gold Creek on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

City clearing gravel from Gold Creek

Project aims to protect concrete flume from erosion

If you’ve driven on Egan Drive between downtown and Lemon Creek this week, you might have noticed that the right side of the outgoing lane is wet. It’s not a case of isolated rain showers.

The City and Borough of Juneau’s Public Works Department is dredging in Gold Creek at Cope Park this week, working to clear it of gravel and other rocks. Streets, Fleet and Transit Superintendent Ed Foster said Wednesday that this takes place on an annual basis, and it’s done in order to keep tons of gravel from traveling across the concrete flume on the river and damaging it. Gravel builds up in Cope Park every year, Foster said.

CBJ employees are doing the work, using six trucks from Channel Construction, Foster said. The trucks are loaded up with gravel at Cope Park — which has remained open since the project began Monday — and the trucks take the gravel over to the city lot behind Home Depot and Costco, Foster said.

The trucks are dripping with water from the creek as they take the gravel across town, leaving a dark path on the road as the water tumbles out of the back of the trucks. Foster said they try to do this project each year, and do it in warmer temperatures so the water doesn’t freeze on the road.

Foster said he hopes the project is done by Thursday, but there’s a great deal of gravel to be removed from the river. He said there are about 2,000 cubic yards of rocks and gravel to remove from the creek this year, which is about on par with how much they remove every year.

This operation, Foster said, dates back more than 50 years. The Army Corps of Engineers built the concrete flume on the creek in 1962, according to a recent Corps of Engineers report. Foster said he isn’t quite sure why the concrete was put in, but believes it’s to keep the creek from eroding too much as heavy rainfall rises the river’s banks from time to time.

The Corps of Engineers turned the flume over to the city to maintain, and one of the requirements they set was that the city must monitor and dispose of the materials that build up in the creek. Each year, the Corps of Engineers inspects the flume for damage, and Foster said the city tries to dredge the materials out of the river prior to the annual inspection.

Foster said they consult the Alaska Department of Fish & Game about the project and the department signed off, saying there was no risk to disturbing wildlife in the area.


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


An excavator dredges Gold Creek at Cope Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

An excavator dredges Gold Creek at Cope Park on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Jan. 22

David Holmes digs through a pile of boardgames during Platypus Gaming’s two-day mini-con over the weekend at Douglas Public Library and Sunday at Mendenhall Public Library. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Good times keep rolling with Platypus Gaming

Two-day mini-con held at Juneau Public Library.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau man indicted on child pornography charges

A Juneau man was indicted Thursday on charges of possessing or accessing… Continue reading

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Juneau’s municipal and state legislative members, their staff, and city lobbyists gather in the Assembly chambers Thursday meeting for an overview of how the Alaska State Legislature and politicians in Washington, D.C., are affecting local issues.
Local leaders, lawmakers and lobbyists discuss political plans for coming year

Morning meeting looks at local impact of state, national political climates.

This photo shows pills police say were seized after a suspicious package was searched. (Juneau Police Department)
Police: 1,000 fentanyl pills, 86 grams of meth seized

Juneau man arrested on felony charges.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 27, 2023

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Captain Anne Wilcock recieves the Emery Valentine Leadership Award at the 2022 CCFR awards banquet on Saturday, Jan. 14. (Courtesy Photo / CCFR)
CCFR honors responders during annual banquet

Capital City Fire/Rescue hosted its 2022 awards banquet earlier this month as… Continue reading

A resident and his dog walk past the taped off portion of the Basin Road Trestle after it suffered damaged from a rockslide earlier this week. The trestle is open to pedestrians, but will remain closed to vehicular traffic until structural repairs are made, according to city officials. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Rocky road: Basin Road Trestle open to pedestrians, remains closed to vehicles

City officials say repairs are currently being assessed after damaging rockfall

Most Read