How many bridge builders live
by Dave Rettke
March 24, 2005
Having lived here for quite a few years now, and also having
worked at the pulp mill until its demise, and now working for
Greens Creek Mining Company in Juneau, yet still living in Ketchikan...
I have a few things that are bothering me.
First and foremost is this bridge to Gravina. I have heard
that it will bring jobs to Ketchikan... and that access to Gravina
will be much better than now served.
I have to ask... what jobs will be created that will last beyond
the construcion of said bridge? Not only that, but as many
know, very few people own property on Gravina, but a limited
partnership happens to own a chunk of property near or on Vallenar
Bay. Around ninety acres if I remember right. So...
this bridge will provide access to Gravina to develop this property.
For a handful of citizens.
I have had the opportunity to read back issues of the Ketchikan
Daily News, and have read about the airport when it was being
built way back in the early seventies. I read how the property
on Gravina would become accessible and roads would be built now
that a ferry was running there daily. What happened to
that? Where are those roads? Where is that development?
I also remember reading about how one end of the airport caused
a more than quadrupling of costs when a 'hole' of epic proportions
had to be filled...and it took far more than anyone thought.
So... where is the birdge going to end up hitting Gravina?
Not on 'that' end of the airport is it? How much more cost
will be dumped there due to poor planning, no geology or proper
engineering being done to catch this before we have spent millions...
hundreds of millions of dollars? Oh... to develop about
one million dollars of property.
It sounds suspiciously like a certain street development project
undertaken just a few years ago. That 20 some-odd million
one mile stretch of road now known as Third Avenue Bypass. Now,
I'm not against progress or development of jobs... but we need
to develop REAL jobs, not part time short term jobs.
Face it. How many 'bridge builders' live in Ketchikan?
How many jobs will be left once the bridge is finished?
Won't there be a net decrease due to the ferry service being
halted once the bridge is opened? Won't the only real jobs
created be those of building the few houses in that ninety acre
development and then maybe ten years later we will be right back
in the same boat only now with the expensive costs of maintenance
and upkeep on a three-hundred million dollar bridge to... heh...
Our own bourough Government managed to get rid of twenty five
million dollars in quick time to the 'Gateway' business and the
only good money ever spent was to the shipyard, that happens
to still be in business... barely. I think that perhaps
lacking an investigation by the Attorney General, the real truth
of where eighteen million dollars went will never be found out...
and we the people of Ketchikan will always be behind the curve
on many opportunities.
In ending, I guess what bothers me the most is the fact that
it seems our elected officals are grasping at straws now that
the money is gone, and this bridge will be our salvation.
I'm sorry to say it will cost us dearly in the end, and when
the proposed jobs do not materialize after the construction of
the bridge is over... well, I wonder if the same elected officals
will still be around to ask questions of. Or will they,
like they have done over the Gateway business, dissappear the
public record due to 'storage costs'?
Oh... one more question... where will the logs to run that veneer
lathe come from? If I remember correctly, it requires around
eight thousand logs per shift to run efficently.
Ketchikan, AK - USA
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