Ice jams create minor flooding on Kenai River

Ice jams and associated flooding are an annual occurrence on the Kenai River. (Photo credit Redoubt Reporter)

It’s not really winter until the Kenai River floods, at least a little.

State, borough and city crews all convened on the bank of the Kenai River off Big Eddy Road Tuesday morning. Ice jams had caused some minor flooding in the area, prompting the borough to put up some traffic signs on Eddy Lane and, according to Borough Roads Manager Dil Uhlin, get some equipment staged for a quick response if needed. 

“The DOT will have a couple loaders on standby and then we’ve got our contractors on standby, there just in case anything needs to occur. It’s a common occurrence in this area for this to happen,” Uhlin said. “There’s actually a channel that’s been dug in to help with some cross culverts going across Eddy Lane, some bigger cross culverts. So once it goes down a little bit lower, then we’ll take loaders in and start removing the ice and so forth. In all reality, with ice jams and the river, it’s a wait and see thing right now, especially with the cold weather. If we were to get a real warm snap, it would probably cause some issues, but it’s pretty standard. We’re definitely monitoring it, going out there two or three times a day.”

Uhlin says water levels were dropping throughout the morning Tuesday, by about a foot. That neighborhood toward the end of Big Eddy Road is mostly seasonal. Uhlin says just two or three year-round residents are in the area. 

Shaylon Cochran is a host and reporter at KDLL in Kenai. He’s reported on fishing, energy, agriculture and local politics since coming to Alaska in 2011. He has worked at KDLL/KBBI on the Kenai Peninsula, where he picked up lots of new hobbies, like smoking salmon, raising chickens, skiing and counting RV’s. He holds a bachelors degree in Journalism from Iowa State University.

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