Pushing Gravel into Resurrection Bay

Workers push gravel from the Lowell Creek Diversion Tunnel Outfall into Resurrection Bay in October, 2018 to keep the bridge and road from flooding.

Just short of two years after a dramatic storm surge eroded sections of Lowell Point Road and damaged the seawall near the Alaska SeaLife Center, the City of Seward has awarded a $2.5 million contract to restore the gravel thoroughfare to its pre-storm condition. 

The City Council approved the contract with Hamilton Construction at its most recent council meeting following a request for proposals distributed by the city administration at the beginning of August. 

At the same time, the council accepted just over $3.4 million in grant funds from the state and federal governments. The funds were released pursuant to state and federal disaster declarations issued in February and June of last year, respectively.

The project falls under Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines on disaster repairs, which may allow for some of the money to be used for road improvements, according to the agenda statement accompanying the council’s resolution.

“It finally got declared federally back in June of last year, and then we tried to get things rolling to get everything through FEMA and all that stuff set up took about five to six months,” said Public Works Director Doug Schoessler. “And the engineering took place this spring. It did take longer than we would have liked.”

The repairs will likely require closures of the road, but the exact schedule has yet to be established, Schoessler said.

Hamilton, one of five bidders, submitted the lowest bid by a margin of almost $1 million. The next lowest bid, from Brice, Inc., came in at $3.3 million. The City of Seward has awarded several recent projects to Hamilton including the replacement of the south harbor boat launch and the construction of the 1,009-foot breakwater at the Seward Marine Industrial Center. 

Hamilton estimated that repairs to Lowell Point Road would cost $2.2 million. The remainder of Hamilton’s bid comes from $250,000 in repairs to the Alaska SeaLife Center seawall. 

Additionally, Hamilton bid on an “additive alternate” for $1.3 million in improvements to Lowell Point Road. That alternate is not included in Hamilton’s $2.5 million base bid, as it is an optional addition.