Shelter Cove Road Project
Put Out to Bid
By MARY KAUFFMAN
March 16, 2016
(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - The Alaska Department of Transportation, at the direction of Governor Bill Walker, put the Shelter Cove Road project out to bid yesterday. This road project will provide a public surface transportation link that will extend the existing Ketchikan road system to the Shelter Cove road system. The announcement was made by Senator Bert Stedman Tuesday afternoon.
This new approximately seven mile road will link the existing road system in Ketchikan to the U.S. Forest Service road system around George and Carroll Inlets. The project will begin near Harriet Hunt Lake, go around the northern tip of George Inlet and link to the existing road system that terminates at Shelter Cove in Carroll Inlet.
Click here or on the map for a larger image.
Map courtesy the Alaska Department of Transportation
In making the announcement, Stedman said the new road system will allow Ketchikan residents, as well as visitors, to be able to pursue economic, recreational, and subsistence opportunities on state, federal, and private lands.
Stedman said, "The access created by the road will also benefit potential timber sales and the jobs that come with the sales. Given our huge deficits and downturn in the oil and gas industry, the State needs to focus on other ways to create jobs and economic development so Alaskan families can survive."
Funding for constructing the project comes from two Transportation General Obligation Bond propositions that received statewide voter approval in the general elections of 2008 and 2012.
The inclusion of $10 million for the Shelter Cove Road Project in the 2008 bond package was led by former Representative Kyle Johansen of Ketchikan. In 2012, as the co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Stedman included $19 million for the project in that year’s bond package. The $29 million in funding provided the amount necessary to construct the project.
Another recent development helping push the Shelter Cove Road Project along is the passage by U.S. Congress of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which clarified the state’s right to nineteen easements across federal land in the Tongass which included an easement for the last mile of the Shelter Cove Road. Senator Stedman worked directly with Alaska's congressional delegation to include that provision.
The FAST Act provides annual increases in funding to the state over a five year period. Alaska stands to receive more than $2.6 billion from Fiscal Years (FY) 2016-2020.
In voting for the FAST Act in December 2015, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski said, “Alaska has unique transportation needs and challenges—whether it be due to our state’s vast size, remoteness, difficult terrain, or harsh climate. Because of this, it’s imperative that we have the certainty that comes with a long-term transportation funding bill,” said Murkowski. “We all recognize that Alaska is in the midst of budget crisis, so being able to rely on federal funding for critical infrastructure projects, whether it be on roads, bridges, or ferries, is key to our state. I’m proud that with the FAST Act, we have a five year bill with stable funding - the longest time period for transportation funding that Congress has secured in seventeen years.”
U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) also commented on the passage of the FAST Act in December 2015 saying, "The bill also includes reforms to our permitting system, which will help cut through project-killing red tape and streamline regulatory burdens. This bill amounts to a big win for Alaska as it will allow us to not only address our infrastructure needs but also promote and sustain economic growth throughout the state.”
Stedman said he also appreciates the efforts by the supporters of the road project, Governor Walker’s direction to get the project moving, and the work of the Alaska Department of Transportation.
Stedman said, "It’s always good news when a project moves ahead. I look forward to making the drive out to Carroll Inlet."
In the 2004 Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan (SATP), the Alaska Department of Transportation also identified a possible link between Southeast Alaska and the Canadian highway system at the Cassiar Highway. That proposed link included a Revillagigedo Highway, a portion of which is between Lake Harriet Hunt and Shelter Cove.
The 2004 version of a possible link between Southeast Alaska and the Canadian highway system is still listed as an approved transportation plan for Southeast Alaska.
On the Web:
2010 General Obligation Bond
2012 General Obligation Bond
Shelter Cove Road Project
Timber Sale On Hold, Road Link Allowed to Proceed By MARY KAUFFMAN - The U.S. Forest Service’s Alaska Regional Forester Beth Pendleton has directed the Tongass National Forest to put the Saddle Lake Timber Sale on hold until a supplemental environmental review can be completed and further public comments are considered. Friday’s decision still allows a fish pass to be built to help spawning salmon and construction of a 1.1-mile road link. - More...
SitNews - March 15, 2016
Note: Sen. Stedman (R-Sitka) represents District R which includes Angoon, Coffman Cove, Craig, Edna Bay, Elfin Cove, Hollis, Hoonah, Hydaburg, Hyder, Kake, Kasaan, Ketchikan, Klawock, Klukwan, Kupreanof, Metlakatla, Meyers Chuck, Naukati, Pelican, Petersburg, Point Baker, Port Alexander , Port Protection, Saxman, Sitka, Tenakee Springs, Thorne Bay, Whale Pass and Wrangell.
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