By Conrad Dudderar
Heavy rains over the past year have caused severe erosion problems in some Yukon drainage ditches that require attention, city council members were told this week.
The two priority projects, at Kimbell Park and in Westport West, will cost an estimated $255,000 to repair damages. The work would be done by City of Yukon contractor Brewer Construction.
Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort on Aug. 17 discussed the drainage ditch issues with the Yukon City Council. He shared photos of erosion and flooding damage in several areas.
Some neighbors have contacted Yukon city personnel because their properties are eroding away.
“These rain events have caused us some problems,” said Hort, noting all property in a floodplain will eventually flood. “We’re trying to be ‘on top’ of these projects as best we can and address them.
“We’re trying to protect our infrastructure and trying to protect some people’s properties.”
Mayor Shelli Selby believes it’s time to repair the damages.
“The longer we put it off, the worse it’s going to get and the more money it’s going to cost,” Selby said.
Kimbell Park lays within the floodplain and floodway.
“Large amounts of water during rain events tend to flood the streets there as well,” Hort explained. “We are looking at moving the water a little better through there.”
A Turtle Creek concrete channel project has been recommended at an estimated $112,000 cost.
Hort warned that proposed repairs at the Kimbell Park drainage ditch would not resolve all issues. He noted the water intensity during rain events has increased greatly over the past couple decades.
KINGSGATE ROAD DRAINAGE PROJECT
The Kingsgate Road drainage ditch, in the Westport West subdivision, is the other top proposed project to be addressed.
The ditch – also in the floodplain – is getting wider as trees wash out and fall into the drainage area. City officials fear it will scour enough that a nearby sewer line could roll off into the ditch.
There are detention ponds up the hill “trying to slow the water down” but the area “just takes a lot of water,” Hort said.
“It’s deeper than we can handle,” he added. “We looked at doing it ourselves but it’s going to take some heavy equipment.”
A Kingsgate Road concrete channel project has been recommended at an estimated $143,000 cost.
Ditch repairs would have cost around $40,000 a year ago but heavy spring rains have made the situation considerably worse.
The Yukon City Council is expected to consider these two major drainage projects at an upcoming meeting. Besides the estimated $255,000 repair costs, there will be permitting and engineering fees.
Funds would come from the city’s sales tax capital account, City Manager Tammy Kretchmar advised.
Meanwhile, improvements have been made along drainage ditches on the north side of the Bass Bridge. The city council previously authorized contractor Brewer Construction to complete this $25,000 project.
Drainage repairs also are needed near the Yukon Avenue bridge.