Kenai outsourcing bluff stabilization design

Apr 26, 2021

Credit City of Kenai

Kenai is negotiating a contract with engineering firm HDR for the design phase of the bluff stabilization project.

It’s the latest step in a decades-long project to stop property on a 5,000-foot stretch of the Kenai bluff from falling into the river. The city hopes to have a berm constructed at the foot of the bluff to prevent further erosion from waves and storms.

Before it can start construction, it needs a design plan for the project. The city sent out a request for proposals in February and is now crafting a contract with HDR, one of five firms that responded.

The design phase should take between a year and a year and a half, said City Manager Paul Ostrander. It entails surveying the site and doing a geotechnical analysis of the work area.

HDR is an international company with offices in Anchorage and Palmer. It's also working on the design for the Cooper Landing bypass project — the plan to divert traffic between mileposts 45 and 60 of the Sterling Highway. 

The city is also working with the Army Corps of Engineers on the bluff stabilization. It’s expecting a 65 percent match in funds on the federal side for the project. The rest will come from the city and state.

As such, the city included in its new budget a part-time grant writer position. That person’s primary focus would be to find grants for the bluff project.

It’s one of eight new positions in the city’s budget for Fiscal Year 2022, currently in process. You can find the budget draft at