Salmon Creek Dam alarm to be upgraded

Sound levels lacking in some areas during test, official says

Posted: Thursday, June 07, 2001

Horns that failed last year's test of the Salmon Creek Dam flood-warning siren system functioned correctly on Tuesday, but still did not provide an adequate level of warning across Egan Highway, said David Stone, vice president of consumer affairs for Alaska Electric Light & Power.

The sirens could be heard clearly on the Bartlett Regional Hospital side of the highway, Stone said.

Stone said AEL&P may upgrade the system to include an additional siren in the vicinity of the Department of Transportation building on Channel Drive in order to give better warning to people in that vicinity. The new siren could be installed within two months, he said today.

The Salmon Creek Dam flood plain is an area that crosses Glacier Highway, Hospital Drive, Egan Drive and Channel Drive. People on Hospital Drive, Sleepy Spruce and Salmon Creek Lane are supposed to evacuate to the high ground at the hospital when a siren sounds. People on east side of Salmon Creek are to evacuate to Jack's Plumbing. People in the area of DOT, Worldwide Movers and KJNO/KTKU are to evacuate to the downtown armory.

The Salmon Creek Dam, about two miles above Gastineau Channel, was built between July 1913 and August 1914 as a hydro project to provide electricity. It also became a source of city water in the 1980s, Stone said.

"We are required by the Federal Energy Commission to have an emergency evacuation plan in case it ever fails. The dam is in good condition, but ice has gouged into the concrete at the very top. So we don't allow the water level to get to that height," Stone said.

Seismic analysis and core drilling show the dam to be structurally sound. However, it is inspected every time there is an earthquake, and devices at the Thane substation monitor it for movement 24 hours a day, he said.

In case of a failure of the dam, sirens will sound and an automatic dialer will call everyone in the flood plain.

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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