The Army Corps of Engineers presented its proposal for improvements to the Lowell Creek flood diversion project in a Seward-Bear Creek Flood Service Area (SBCFSA) Board Meeting Monday night. The main component of the proposal is a planned 18-foot diameter tunnel through Bear Mountain, upstream of the existing 10-foot tunnel.
After the presentation, the Army Corps team fielded questions from the board on the safety, logistics and environmental impact of the project. The new channel would potentially carry water and debris over Lowell Point Road south of the existing Lowell Creek waterfall, and concerns were raised over clearance for vehicles passing under the outfall flume. Army Corps representatives assured the board that the passage would allow for 36' clearances, both laterally and vertically.
Alaska SeaLife Center Operations Director Darryl Schaefermeyer raised concerns over debris containment in the proposed flume as it crosses over Lowell Point Road.
Corps Engineer Nathan Epps addressed the concern, stating that the steep angle of the slope would prevent blockage, and that the height of the flume’s side walls would allow for debris containment.
“The sides of the flume are essentially tall enough to make sure nothing actually spills out over the sides during these large events,” Epps said. “Whatever can be conveyed through that tunnel will also be able to be conveyed in the open channel at the outlet and then down over the road.”
It is estimated that construction will take approximately one year once funding is obtained.