By Dave Rettke
January 28, 2006
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.
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.
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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