Flume Trail to close this summer for repairs

Flume Trail. (Photo by Lisa Phu/KTOO)

The Flume Trail will close between April and September this year to allow for repairs to the more than 100-year-old structure.

Alaska Electric Light & Power announced the plan this week. Spokesperson Debbie Driscoll said the wooden walkway above downtown Juneau is safe to use for now, but the company has concerns about its long-term integrity.

“The hillside actually is slowly moving. Some of the trestle foundations are not founded on bedrock, so with the hillside moving it’s taking the flume with it,” Driscoll said.

The flume provides hydroelectric power by diverting water from Gold Creek to a powerhouse.

Driscoll said the flume itself has multiple leaks and will need to be replaced. Crews will also replace up to 1,300 feet of the walkway and some of the trestles that hold it up.

Accessing the site will be a challenge, adding to the expected time the project will take. They also want to make sure that they maintain the historic character of the structure.

“We are constructing it (like-kind), and in addition, that basically maintains the historic integrity of the project for our customers,” Driscoll said. “Especially because the community really takes pride in the history.”

Construction will take the flume offline, but there won’t be any interruption in service.

“We’re making sure that we fix it now so it can continue to be used for the benefit of Juneau from a hydropower standpoint, but also to the benefit of Juneau for access and recreational reasons,” she said.

The trail was closed for about seven weeks in late 2017 following heavy rains that damaged parts of the flume.

Driscoll said AEL&P will likely return for more repairs next year. 

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