After a mudslide damaged a Douglas home in February 2017, the slope is finally going to be stabilized next year, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
The Feb. 15, 2017 mudslide took place between two homes on Douglas Highway between Vista Drive and Lawson Creek, according to an Empire report at the time. The cause reported at the time was a water leak, and DOT spokesperson Aurah Landau confirmed this week that the cause was a water leak.
Landau said that DOT put up a temporary wall in that area to stabilize the slope and DOT personnel have been working with nearby homeowners to develop a design for a more permanent fix. Negotiations were “extensive and constricted design options,” Landau said in an email, and it’s not unusual for it to take this long to get a project off the ground.
“The timing is on-par with a similar issue in Ketchikan — getting funding, designing a solution, and getting it fixed simply takes more time than anybody really wants it to,” Landau said.
The project, which is scheduled to go out for bid next spring and take place during the summer, would remove the temporary barriers and install a new stabilization structure, according to a public notice from DOT. Landau said the work is projected to cost DOT between $150,000 and $300,000.
Other factors in the project include making improvements under Douglas Highway and relocating water, sewer and storm drainage lines if necessary, according to the public notice. Landau said they’ll work with the contractor to keep traffic moving as smoothly as possible on the road.
She emphasized that this slope only affects two properties, which are located in the 2500 block of Douglas Highway.
“It’s not a streetwide issue,” Landau said.
She said it’s unusual to see major washouts like this along Douglas Highway. Places like Haines Highway have more problems, she said, but Douglas Highway as a whole is not a hazardous area.
According to the Empire report at the time, one house — which was for sale at the time — was damaged in the February 2017 landslide when the slide pushed a small shed toward the house. It also damaged two walls of the home, according to the Empire report.
The design is still in the works, and members of the public can now weigh in on it.
The public comment period is open until Nov. 28, according to a public notice on the DOT website. People looking to weigh in on it can contact DOT Environmental Impact Analyst Chris Schelb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 465-4447. Written comments can go to DOT&PF, Southcoast Region, P.O. Box 112506, Juneau AK 99801-2506.
Industrial Boulevard getting repaved
One of Juneau’s bumpiest streets is scheduled to get much smoother.
Bids go out next week for a DOT project that will be done on Industrial Boulevard, Landau said, and they expect to award the project around the end of December. The next couple months will be spent finalizing a design for the project and having the contractor put together a phasing schedule, Landau said.
The project will reconstruct the road from Glacier Highway to Maier Drive (most of the road), according to the public notice. The project includes drainage improvements, intersection work, driveway work, and water and sewer utility relocation It will result in a new sidewalk along the west side of the road.
“That roadway’s really rough,” Landau said, “and it’ll be nice to have a pedestrian walkway there.”
The project has gone through various iterations, Landau said, including one idea to extend Industrial Boulevard farther north up Glacier Highway to be in line with the future Pederson Hill housing development that is currently under construction. That ended up not being the direction the design has gone, Landau said.
With the project about to go out for bid, it’s hard to estimate how much the project will eventually cost. Landau said it will likely fall between $2.5 million and $5 million. She said DOT is hoping to get the improvements done during one season and not stretch it out in phases over a couple years.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.