SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Better ways to spend our transportation dollars
By Emily Ferry


February 13, 2006

I couldn t agree more with Mr. Rettke's January 28th letter that there are better uses of hundreds of millions of dollars than the Gravina Bridge. I'm not sure, however, that the proposed Bradfield Road qualifies as a significant improvement. To start with, travelers would have to take a day-long ferry ride north from Ketchikan just to reach the start of the proposed $300-plus million Bradfield Canal Road. The terrain here is so rugged that DOT engineers have said that the route would demand a mile and a half tunnel at an 8% grade.

There is, however, a more affordable, efficient, and imminent option for connecting Ketchikan with the continental road system - and a brand new international container port at Prince Rupert. Plans to build a Southern Gateway Shuttle to operate daily between Ketchikan and Prince Rupert have been in the works for a while. DOT was supposed to have a contract signed for the $60 million vessel this fall. Where that contract stands is anyone's guess. For all we know it s gone the way of many of the other road and ferry improvements that have been cut and delayed as Goliaths like the Gravina and Knik Arm Bridges soak up the state's limited transportation funding.

According to a December 19th letter from the City of Ketchikan to the Department of Transportation, no funds appear in DOT's budget to resurface Tongass Ave from the Airport Ferry Terminal to Third Ave. Likewise, it appears that resurfacing and viaduct replacement from Tremont Street to Grant Street has also been slashed. Other enhancements, like extending the waterfront promenade from the downtown area south have disappeared as well.

Without a doubt, there are better ways to spend our transportation dollars, starting in Ketchikan.

Emily Ferry
E-mail: emily[at]
Juneau, AK - USA

About: Emily Ferry is coordinator of the Alaska Transportation Priorities Project, a statewide watchdog group advocating for safe, efficient, environmentally appropriate and fiscally responsible transportation system for Alaska.

Related Viewpoint:

letter The 'bridge' and alternatives to it. By Dave Rettke - Ketchikan, AK - USA


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Ketchikan, Alaska