A year ago Saturday storm drainage from the second rainiest day in Kodiak history tore paths down hillsides as it picked up mud, rocks and even alders.
But today, a summer of explosive vegetation growth hides the path of the mudslides that closed Rezanof Drive near — Lash Dock for nearly 24 hours.
Kodiak’s infrastructure is also recovering pretty well. After a busy summer of construction work, at least $4.8 million has gone into repairs associated with the mudslides.
Fortunately for Kodiak residents, most of the costs of the disaster will be covered by the state and national governments because the mudslides were declared a national disaster. The feds will cover 75 percent of the recovery costs, with the state of Alaska covering the remaining 25 percent.
“All the folks in Kodiak did a really good job in the initial phases of the disaster and leaned forward into the recovery,” said Jeremy Zidek spokesman for the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
“It may seem like it’s taking a long time, but here in Alaska with our limited construction season and the island rural community, it’s really gone very well.”
During the course of the Oct. 9 storm, 6.4 inches fell in Kodiak.
In addition to closing Rezanof Drive, flooding and mudslides carried a solid layer of rocks onto the Bear Valley Golf Course and did damage to all the corners of the Kodiak road system and as far away as the Terror Lake Dam.
State highways were most impacted by the slides. Merle Sena with the state Department of Transportation (DOT) said DOT repairs have cost about $4 million. All the state’s jobs are supposed to finish this fall.
State repair jobs included work in Pasagshak, Chiniak and at the Kodiak State Airport. DOT had to replace dozens of culverts along Anton Larsen Road.
Kodiak Electric Association had about $1.7 million in repairs, said Alice Job, the energy co-operative’s finance director. Flooding damaged an access road for the Terror Lake Dam. Repairs are about 90 percent complete.
For the Bear Valley Golf Course, operated by the Coast Guard Moral, Wellbeing and Recreation program, recovery took some flexibility. The golf course reopened in May using a modified course for the first and second greens because of debris damage.
Damage to Kodiak Island Borough facilities have come to about $250,000. The borough hired Womens Bay assistant fire chief David Conrad to help handle the added work associated with the recovery.
The borough has completed 10 of 16 projects associated with the recovery including repairs in Monashka Bay, Bell’s Flats and the fairgrounds, said borough maintenance coordinator Bob Tucker. The remaining projects are in Bell’s Flats.
Tucker, Conrad and others who worked on the mudslide recovery returned this week from an emergency preparedness conference in Anchorage where they held a panel discussion about the Kodiak mudslides.
Tucker said one key lesson he got out of the disaster is the value of making sure the borough is ready for another road closure.
“If we have another diaster we might need equipment on that side,” he said. “Backhoes, track hoes, dumptrucks — we need to know where they are.”
Mirror writer Sam Friedman can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.