SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


The 'bridge' and alternatives to it.
By Dave Rettke


January 28, 2006

I come again to talk about the bridge to Gravina. It appears that for the time being it has been put on a back burner as far as funding goes. I think it is a smart move for us more than for the Federal Government.

I have found out that there was/is a proposal for a road and bridge system that would include ferries as well that would bring a road to Canada to Southeast Alaska. It appears from what I have read so far, that most of S.E. Alaska would benefit, with Wrangell and Ketchikan probably benefting the most.

For a cost of about 20 million less than the proposed $365 million a bridge to Gravina would cost taxpeyers, a whole system could be set up that would put a road up the Bradfield Canal and into Canada. This road would connect Wrangell and Ketchikan and serve all of or at least more of Southeast Alaska than a bridge to Gravina would in the end.

I have seen that Mr. Seley has begun a push to build roads on Gravina and is asking or wanting to ask the State to support a road system there. I am for that. I am all for that. But I want to see the ferry system utilized to it's utmost before we go begging for funds for a mulit-hundred million dollar bridge there. Build the roads, and see how much growth comes there.

In the meantime, support and build the Bradfield Canal road project. It is a doable and worthy project that will support more individuals in S.E. than most other options. The creation of jobs will be far greater, and quite a few of those jobs would be jobs provided by local contractors.

As time goes on, the road system will grow. I still feel that a multi-hundred million dollar bridge to an island that serves 70 people isn't a real logical project. I know that many peoplel have put a great effort into a bridge to Gravina, but I can't see the costs over time ever bearing a good end.

The bridge to Gravina as envisioned will be almost the size of Golden Gate Bridge, and I know that the maintenance costs of that bridge are in the millions of dollars a year. I just don't see how Ketchikan will be able to afford to maintain such a costly bridge in the future.
I still have yet to see where the '40' or so jobs that have been claimed will be and for how long they will be there. At least with the Bradfield Canal project, there would be a longer term building and I think that more open area to see will enhance the tourism industry. Not only that but it will create more long term jobs too, since there would be a need for a small camp ground or service station somewhere along the road...and that would create more jobs in a job depressed area of the whole State, not just in one small area.

All in all, I aplaude Mr. Seley and his groups effort to obtain funding for a road system on Gravina, and I support them in those endeavors.

I also think that what is best for all of S.E. is the Bradfield Road system too. It is needed, and it is time.

Dave Rettke
Ketchikan, AK - USA


About: Dave Rettke lives in Ketchikan and has been calling it home since 1987. He worked at the pulp mill until its demise and now works for a mine near Juneau. He has three adult children, raised mostly in Ketchikan and two grand kids.



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