Construction starts on dam renovation project

Construction started last month on the Beluga Lake causeway with a dam renovation project.

Homer company Jay-Brant General Contractors started the project when workers put in a coffer dam on Beluga Lake and Beluga Slough to hold back water so work can be done on a culvert and a gate system that regulates water flow. A crane used to install large metal plates for the coffer dam was moved last week, removing a hazard to aviation.

All of the causeway that is Lake Street as it crosses the lake is the dam, noted Daniel Butterbaugh, resident engineer with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. The project will put in a new gate system to better regulate water flow from Beluga Lake into the slough. The goal is to keep the lake at about 18 to 20 feet above sea level, or about 4-feet deep in the lake. The gates also can allow more water to flow out during storm events.

Jay-Brant crews also will clean out the culvert and then install a slip lining to extend the life of the culvert. Traffic will be diverted around construction, with work being done on only one side of the road at a time.

“At no point in time are we going to tear up and close the road,” Butterbaugh said.

The goal is to have all work done by mid-July, he said. When work on the culvert and new gate system is done, the crane will go back out and remove the coffer dam.

“We’re trying to have as little impact on the community as possible,” Butterbaugh said.

He said work probably won’t happen this weekend for the 26th annual Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival.

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