By Rick Grams
December 18, 2005
The project costs include access roads to tie into the Revilla-side road system and a road from the Gravina side to the Airport. It also includes additional parking areas for the airport. There is existing water and power to the Airport, but the bridge and roadways would also require power, so that is part of the project. It's really too early say exactly how things will come together during the immediate future, but if interest in Gravina works out as most of us "pro-bridge" people predict, there will certainly be private investment pressure and investment that will leverage governmental resources. That last statement is really the reason why it has been a challenge for anyone to provide a definitive answer.
I'd like to also point out a strategic document called "Vision: 2020 Alaska Statewide Transportation Plan." The 1995 version can be found here and the 2002 version can be found here. This document outlines in broad terms the challenges and processes in which the Alaska road and transportation infrastructure is maintained.
From the 2002 version there are three policies that I believe are of interest to the concept of the Ketchikan to Gravina bridge specifically relating to the areas of Economic Development:
Plan and accomplish transportation and economic development projects by partnering early with communities, private and commercial organizations, and federal and state agencies.
Provide new road or rail access to communities and resources when public need is shown and when economically, socially, and environmentally justified, taking into account diverse public values.
Develop and improve the transportation system in a way that preserves and enhances Alaska's unique character and takes advantage of Alaska's unique global position.
Now, in my comments(12/16/05) I mentioned how important it was to continue displaying and seeking support for the project. Just because the Governor of Alaska has expressed his support and subsequently provided a financial plan to start the project in 2007 does not mean this is a done deal. The next step involves the Alaska DOT's Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). If a person reviews the slide show we can all see how the planning for the funds to maintain infrastructure are identified. One additional factor to note is the slideshow outlines the fact that Southeast Alaska is home to three of the five largest cities in the state (Juneau, Ketchikan, and Sitka). Therefore a physical link to Gravina leading to the economic opportunities myself and others have previously mentioned also boosts the economic structure of Southeast Alaska.
As we can all see, this is by no means a project that relies on one opinion, one government agency or one funding source. In essence, due to the nature of the changes during the past 20 years and of the expected changes for this 21st century this project is an example of the need for all people in our region to collaborate for the improvement of our own society. It is only through this process of collaboration (which requires continued community member involvement) that the majority of all interests can be addressed.
About: Rick Grams has lived in Ketchikan since June of 2000. He has four children, all of them grown and living in Ketchikan as well. Rick belongs to the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and has recently started his own consultancy relating to business and the use of technology.
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.