by Diana Haecker ~ January 7th, 2011
The Matanuska Electric Association has hired a contractor to clear the Alaska Intertie corridor between Talkeetna River and Willow Fish Hook Road starting on Monday. Joel Stefansky, clearance supervisor for MEA said that MEA is required by federal law to clear their portion of the Intertie every eight or ten years to keep vegetation growth in check.
Stefansky said that the Intertie easement is not a public trail and that people taking advantage of the cleared line are basically trespassing. The easement is widely used by snowmachiners and dog mushers. But Stefansky also said that – out of courtesy – he sent the Willow and Montana Creek Dog musher clubs a letter informing the mushers of the upcoming hydroaxing.
Project foreman Steve Koenig with Johnson Construction and Consulting said that he and his crew of eight would begin work on Monday or Tuesday, starting at the staging area off Mastodon Road on the Intertie. They will work their way north to the Talkeetna River, double back and then head south. Koenig said that they send a dozer ahead to plow and have the hydro ax come behind to grind up the vegetation. Work is taking place from dawn to dusk, six days a week, but not on Sundays.
If conditions are ideal, Koenig said, he aims to hydroax five miles per week. In total, the project entails clearing the 100-foot wide Intertie corridor for 43 miles. They have until the end of May to finish the work