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Kenai bluff project contract awarded to Seattle construction company

The Kenai bluff in September, 2023.
Riley Board
The Kenai bluff in September, 2023.

A Washington construction company will build the berm designed to stop bluff erosion in Kenai, per an Army Corps of Engineers release Wednesday.

The eroding bluff along the mouth of the Kenai River is the City of Kenai’s biggest capital priority. The erosion impacts roads, water mains and private properties along the bluff, while threatening other riverside assets like the Kenai Senior Center.

The Corps awarded Western Marine Construction of Seattle a $19.3 million contract for the work. The company is scheduled to begin work this spring, and complete the project on Feb. 10, 2026.

The project design involves a 5,000-foot berm made of large rocks along the north bank of the Kenai River, which should allow the bluff to stabilize over time. It will be made of thousands of cubic yards of armor rocks, crushed rock and gravel.

Kenai has been worried about the eroding bluff since as early as the 1960s. In September, the city signed an official agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers for the project, and the corps sent it out for bid in December.

In a press release shared this afternoon, the city thanked residents, present and past city officials, U.S Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Gov. Mike Dunleavy for their help in seeing the project through and fundraising for it over the years.

Col. Jeffrey Palazzini, the Army Corps Alaska District commander, is quoted in the agency's statement.

“This project is an example of our commitment to working alongside our partners and stakeholders to find engineering solutions to coastal erosion problems in Alaska. Together, we will build innovative, climate-resilient infrastructure that will protect communities and ecosystems for many years to come,” he said.

To learn more, check out our hour-long conversation about the project with City Manager Terry Eubank and Public Works Director Scott Curtin.

Riley Board is a Report For America participant and senior reporter at KDLL covering rural communities on the central Kenai Peninsula.