SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Walden Point road on Annette Island
By Bonna Booth


February 04, 2008
Monday PM

My concerns with the Walden Point road on Annette Island project and the State wanting to get involved has been a little troubling and confusing at best when in perspective with the many other subjects of DOT.

This road has cost the government about $104 Million dollars, this was a part of a training effort for the military, however the justification of this road was to move the ferry terminal, in Metlakatla, at the head of Chester Bay, to the end of this road, Walden point Road, and relocated the terminal in Annette Bay.

This road at present is only a pioneer trail and the problem of connecting the road at the head of Chester Bay has not yet been resolved.

The cost to the State to complete this road can only be estimated, however, talking to a road building contractor their estimates would use a figure of about $1 Million dollars per mile. This would be a good conservative rule of thumb: 18 Miles of road would put a price tag on this road to complete at $18 Million dollars. This is where the road is capped, black topped, guard rails and signs up. This figure does not including the power line and phone connection needed to home port the ferry Lituya at the end of this road. Now with these figures the road is estimated with the figure of $124 Million dollars. Keep in mind that this is a very conservative figure because of the extensive issues in connecting this road at the head of the Chester Bay.

This brings us to the new construction of the new ferry terminal in Annette Bay. This is going to cost the state about 4 million dollars, well this is one figure I have heard, and if a new terminal is built on the Ketchikan side at a cost that is yet undetermined, one figure that was given to Saxman was roughly $9 million dollars for purchase of the land and new terminal, using these estimates, it may be safe to say that the state is looking to spend about $12 to $15 million dollars for the new ferry terminals. Now the figure so far for this project has reached $136 to $139 million dollars.

Now to add the cost for environmental impact studies for the new ferry and the removal, dismantling of the present terminal; by the way the present terminal is a fairly new terminal. I am not a civil engineer so my estimates can be only that of a layman but the figures I have been told by the people who have done similar projects and figures published in the Ketchikan Daily News.

If we can use a round figure and say that this project price tag is conservative and errors in the estimations of these figures can be off, so give or take a few million, is about $140 million dollars. Add the price of the Ferry Lituya at $12 Million dollars we are looking at $155 Million Dollars.

Now put this in to perspective: this price tag is for moving one terminal serving one community and for one ferry.

What I believe the people want for a ferry service in Metlakatla is this:

1) Keep the ferry terminal where it is: Use some of the money that was going to be used for new terminals and build a useable terminal at the head of Chester Bay. This means black top the lot, build a useable building were a terminal manager/agent can sell tickets, where people can get out of the weather as they wait for the ferry. Install a fire hydrant and pressure wash system for cars coming off the ferry; this would be for rinsing off salt water from cars traveling.

2) Seven day service: The Lituya run has proven to be a very viable run, again this is what I have read in the papers. The request for seven day service has been put in many times, this I have been told by council member of Metlakatla, and has been told that the seven day service has been promised to us.

This seven day service would benefit the community in many ways as well as continue to provide a success to AMHS. There are people in Metlakatla that use the service to commute to work in Ketchikan and other parts of the State. I know at least three people that commute to work on the Lituya. The extra runs would provide for better work opportunities for these people. Currently the Lituya does not sail on Tuesday or Wednesday. Seven day service would possibly open up far more opportunities for more people to get work in Ketchikan while still maintaining a residence in Metlakatla. This service has not only served Metlakatla but the people who live in Ketchikan. Given the estimates of the Visitors Borough statistics of how much people spend off AMHS vessels that I have read in the Ketchikan Daily News would be a conservative figure to say that people who use the Lituya on average spend $300 dollars in a Ketchikan visit. This is the money they spend on hotels, food, restaurants, Stores, buying cars, and Doctors visits and this totals in the millions. Serving an average of 28,000 people in a year means 14,000 people visit Ketchikan at $300 dollars per person this is about $4.2 million dollars spent in Ketchikan. Couple extra days would serve both communities better by a seven day service, and again I believe without or little cost to the state.

However while looking at how much the state is wanting to spend on new terminals and building a road for the sole purpose of moving a terminal, the extra cost now seems to pale in comparison. Further more the added run to Sitka, as I have been told, would cost the state $10 thousand dollars per day to provide that service with the fast ferry Fairweather burning 600 gallons an hour. If the Lituya makes AMHS money then it does not seem to fit what we have been told about the cost and AMHS not being able to afford the very best run in all SE Alaska that really cost the State nothing especially when compared to the Sitka run. Even if it did not cost the state any more to run these extra runs why would the state want to move away from making a very good service that much better?

Thank you for taking the time to read my opinions and concerns for a better ferry service in Metlakatla.


Bonna Booth
Metlakatla, AK


Received February 04, 2008 - Published February 04, 2008


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