Terry Dolan

Mat-Su Borough Public Works Director Terry Dolan

PALMER - The Mat-Su Borough Assembly members are attempting to deal with a gravel problem. After exiting a contract with Anchorage Sand and Gravel for excavation of Construction and Demolition waste at the Central Landfill, the Borough has not been able to find any contractors to remove gravel from the landfill. At the meeting on June 15, Public Works Director Terry Dolan detailed the difficulties during the staff report for Ordinance 21-051, which would have appropriated $1.5 million to procure gravel removal services.

“There’s a lot of different uses for the material and we’ll be storing it there for future use,” said Dolan. “About eight years ago or so, I started having discussions with Mr. [Community Development Director Eric] Phillips about the possibility of us selling the gravel when we excavated cells and then potentially splitting the revenue and we came to an agreement on that and that’s exactly what we started doing and its saved us millions of dollars over the years in creating new cells, not only in the cost of the excavation of the gravel but also in the value of the airspace that you create.”

Dolan noted that the contract that previously had been with AS&G had only resulted in about one quarter of the Construction and Demolition cell being excavated, and that over half a million cubic yards of gravel still needed to be removed. Dolan noted that the Borough put out two bids to remove the gravel, one for 50 cents a ton and a second bid to remove the gravel for free, with no respondents. If the contract to seek gravel procurement was approved, much of the material would be stored elsewhere on site. Some would be used for traction material in Road SErvice Areas.

“We’ve tried twice to find a contractor to do it in the way that AS&G was doing it. We’ve been unable to find one and we’re at a point now where we need to start paying somebody to excavate it,” said Dolan. “I personally called the president of the company and asked him if we could find a way, if they needed rock if we could find a way to continue our work together and they said they just wanted out so the issue is much more complex.”

The beginning of the work stoppage arose from a borough permitting issue that has yet to be resolved. Dolan said that the cell would provide two to three decades of service and excavation would need to start in the next year.

“I definitely don't want to spend a million and a half dollars excavating that project. I think that we might be able to put some kind of bid together to entice some other contractor to come in there and somehow or another work out something,” said Assemblyman Mokie Tew.

Assemblyman Jesse Sumner moved to table the ordinance until July 20, which passed without opposition.

“To get half a million yards out of an embankment into a stockpile for a little less than three dollars a yard I think is pretty good,” said Assemblyman Tim Hale.

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