A $4.8 million-dollar project that will impact 0.82 miles of highway and surrounding area near the Cordova burn pile on Orca Road is underway.
Late in September, Harris Sand and Gravel off-loaded a barge of equipment and materials near the site of the Alaska Department of Transportation project, which centers on replacing deep culverts connecting an intertidal lagoon above the road to Orca Inlet.
Project details describe the scope of the work.
New asphalt will replace the existing road asphalt, which was installed in 2003 and is at the end of its life cycle. New armor rock will be placed along the coast side of the embankment to prevent erosion, replacing the concrete block mat that has started to deteriorate and cause damage to the sidewalk and culverts. Plus, a new sidewalk and a staircase for public access to the ocean will be installed.
A major change will be replacing the existing 48-inch culverts connecting to Fleming Spit Lagoon with an 11-foot arched structural plate pipe.
Utility improvements include new electric and telecom conduit that will be installed in the embankment, new sanitary sewer lines and manholes, new water lines and a fire hydrant, and service extended for the future PWCS Building, which will eventually be located above the road in the area of the existing parking lot.
The armor rock, culvert, and water utility work will be completed in the fall and winter of 2020 to meet all environmental requirements.
A temporary crushed asphalt surface will be left in place during winter shutdown, with the rest of the project completed in early spring 2021.
Funding for the project, at an overall contracted price of $4,788,570, came from federal, state, city of Cordova and Copper River Watershed Project sources.
The Prince William Sound Science Center is paying to have a sewer main installed to the center’s new property; the city of Cordova is paying for a hydrant to be installed by the existing bathrooms, and Copper River Watershed Project has a grant to improve access to the beach side.
“The project is certainly needed,” city planner Leif Stavig said. “Not only is the road in rough shape, the culverts have really deteriorated. I didn’t realize they have such a short life span. And the concrete pads evidently were a new idea at the time of installation, but also just haven’t lasted well.”
Added beach access provided by the Copper River Watershed Project grant will enhance many educational activities in the area performed through collaboration with city parks and recreation and the schools. Plus, the new culvert will improve salmon passage to the nearby lagoon, which is utilized by CRWP for salmon cycle education.