From Deacon Row to Beach Drive, We’ve Come a Long Way!

Looking South from Angels Rest towards Border Avenue

Looking South from Angels Rest towards Border Avenue

In 1997, when I bought the land for Angels Rest on Lowell Point, it was known and identified by the Lot and Block numbers. There were no real road names, and the dirt two-lane track that divided the east and west side of the lots was a right-of-way. “Deacon” after the homesteader that subdivided the land and eventually sold the lots off.

Since I purchased my land, there have been upgrades made to the two-track dirt right of way, turning it into a gravel road.  When Emergency Services and 911 reached our remote part of the world in the early 2000’s, we went from giving directions such as “past the large rock next to the bent spruce” to road names with street address numbers!

Looking from the very north end of Beach Drive, looking south

Looking from the very north end of Beach Drive, looking south

Beach Drive is often subject to flooding particularly during winter and spring months when the ground is frozen, and it rains.  Sometimes the puddles would be so deep small cars could not drive through them.  Over the years, my husband and I have attended several Road Board meetings, with our photos of the problems and requests for improvements. Other neighbors took up the torch after we got tired of local politics and with much perseverance and diligence, and years of waiting, we have finally been rewarded.

This late spring and spilling into June (our apologies to guests who suffered through the process), our local contractor Metco worked for several weeks on the improvements to Beach Drive, which included a lot of ditching, placing of culverts and installing a special drain system to allow the road run-off to run into the bay without the road taking on ocean water. Then they raised the road surface and topped it with fresh gravel.

The result is a beautiful wide thoroughfare all the way from the corner at Border Avenue to the north end of Beach Drive.  We haven’t solved the problem of the north end of Beach Drive not having a cul-de-sac, but the owner of the land to the north, “Silver Derby Campground” has allowed their driveway to connect to the north end of Beach Drive, so instead of having turn around, as in years past, you can make the loop and you end up back at Lowell Point Road just south of the bridge that crosses Spruce Creek.

Beach Drive from corner at Border Avenue

Beach Drive from corner at Border Avenue; Angels Rest is 700 feet to north of this corner

For those of you who have already visited, you’ll really see the difference in this last photo.  In the past, folks would be often be confused when they would turn the corner onto Beach Drive and it would seem as if the road had disappeared into a parking lot.  These most recent improvements have helped to clarify the road and has really opened up the corner and given traffic a way to flow. It’s very exciting!

We’re grateful to the Kenai Peninsula Borough for securing the funding for the project and for coordinating and implementing it; and to Metco for doing such great work!

 

Spring’s Struggle with Old Man Winter

April 6, 2013

April 6, 2013

April 9, 2013

April 9, 2013

Our days are growing longer by almost 6 minutes a day and we’re close approaching that time of year in Alaska, when it’s light out when we get up, light out when we go to bed, and light most of the time we’re sleeping. The long days of sunshine warm the ground. These are the predictable aspects of spring. The atmosphere that wraps around the Planet Earth, and results in the weather, is as unpredictable as the wildest tiger! Mother Nature is whimsical or has become more whimsical as the years have passed, I’m not sure.

Everyone seems to agree that the groundhog, who predicted an early spring, was badly mistaken this year. Although the Seward Highway is remarkably clear of pack ice, road damage and frost heaves are more plentiful this year. The seemingly constant snow is melting off the highway quickly, and long days make a round trip to Anchorage easily possible. Time to start stocking up for summer! Just a short month till our summer staff arrives!

Thank you Dear Reader,
With Great Love, Namaste’
❤ LAMP ❤

P.S. I welcome your comments and questions!

Lowell Point Road Is OPEN!

Phase 1 of the City of Seward’s Lowell Point Electrical Upgrade project is now complete, so the daily road closures are over! Phases 2 and 3 of this project remain, but impact on road traffic will be (better be!) minimal from here on out.

Last post about this project I called it “Classic” and it has lived up to that title thus far. First, the notice announced work would begin on Monday 3/29/10 at 8am. Residents were quite angry to discover, after making arrangements to deal with a closed road – Monday 3/29 was an Alaska State Holiday, so of course no City work would be conducted. Tuesday, 3/30 crews started promptly at 8am. Since we were promised passage when they were working in a wide section of the road, and they were working in a wide section, residents were further angered when traffic was not allowed to pass. When I called to find out what was going on, and pointed out that it was only the 1st or 2nd day and “it’s already getting ugly,” I was met with agreement and promised a phone call once the problem was identified.

The follow-up call marked the beginning of a month-long series of conversations that would include “Welllllll, we can’t let traffic by because _________” (fill in the blank). They may have put in writing that they would accommodate traffic whenever they could – but in reality, they never would, even when they could! (It didn’t help that at some point during the project, rather early on, someone (a local, most likely a neighbor) pushed too hard to get by, thereby ruining all chances for accommodation, for everyone.)

Work continued that first week till the excavator broke. That repair took a day and a half, so we lucked out and the road was passable while we waited. Several times that first week I went to “get in line” at 4:45pm to go to town only to discover the crews were already gone. How frustrating that was to have postponed errands and appointments and then to discover that the road had been passable! For how long, we had no clue.

At the end of the first week they were proud of their work – all 2 1/2 days worth. The second week they ran out of parts, so work ceased. Then, on Good Friday, parts in hand, when the rest of our country has knocked off at noon, these folks worked right up to and even a few minutes after 5pm. They worked 3 1/2 days the second week.

So the project went. Locals and visitors, customers and residents all put up with the disruption, every day watching them move closer to what was clearly the wide section, looking forward to them keeping their word of allowing passage.

At the end of the 3rd week they’d almost reached the indisputably “wide” section of the road, and they’d be out of the City limits, so out of their jurisdiction. Everyone expected some accommodation of traffic.  When I called to discuss the coming week’s schedule because of our busy customer schedule, I heard the most infernal and annoying “Weeellllll we can’t because ______”  list of excuses. I’m sure the guy has been to a seminar on “How to Blow Off the Public in 3 Easy Lessons.” Ironically, the next day they had to quit work for the day (week) because they ran into “a problem.”

We want to thank all our customers who, all with great cheer, accommodated the recent treatment of the City of Seward Electric Department.  We had customers forced to leave at 8am because they did not have the liberty of staying till Noon (we offered).  We had others, who were road weary and anxious to arrive, only to discover they could not check in at 4pm as planned. Stay-over guests had to adapt their schedules, going to town at Noon and then having to rush to get back by 1pm or being forced to stay in town till 5pm.

We were to be “in the know” but after the first two weeks communication was rare and the last week, non-existent. We pleaded on behalf of all our customers for a 10am opening that last week. We were ignored.  We’re thankful that this phase of the project is over.

The remaining phases involve pulling the wire though the cable and vaults they just buried, then connecting the new wire to power. Both phases are delayed till further notice as they wait for the wire.  Once the wire arrives, the pulling of the wire will involve opening up each of the 8 vaults that they buried, which may (will) involve some road work.  Given that we are almost into peak Visitor Season, there is every expectation that traffic will have to be accommodated and allowed to pass in some kind of intervals. Once that part of the project is complete we will have to brace ourselves for power outages; we’re hopeful that will be insignificantly disruptive.

Thank you Dear Reader, till next time!

P.s. We welcome your comments and questions (the link is at the top)