The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Flood emergency averted by declaring it so

City says Lowe River course change threatened Alpine Woods subdivision


The City of Valdez declared an emergency last week in order to avert what could have become a disaster.

The Lowe River, a braided system, changed its course last week causing high water along Richardson Highway near milepost 8.5 and some residents of the Alpine Woods subdivision experienced high water levels on their properties towards the end of Whispering Spruce.

“We knew we were starting to have a problem,” Mayor Larry Weaver said, after visiting the area several times during the process.

Weaver said he signed an emergency order last week which allowed “an expedited response.”

In simple terms, declaring an emergency allowed the city to cut the red tape and hire a contractor to shore up low areas around its older dike system before waters saturated the area.

The city hired R&R, a firm owned by Rick Wade, to put fill in a low area of the old dike system, remove debris from the area and other pro-active measures.

The city had an engineer fly over the affected areas Thursday to assess the water situation.

“No imminent danger to area homes or roadways currently exists,” the city said in a press release last week. “Residents wishing to report changes to river conditions or water levels may contact Valdez Police Dispatch or the Public Works Department.”

The Lowe River has a long history of changing its course and creating new channels in the area.


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