SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Rick Grams


December 18, 2005

After doing some research and asking a few people more familiar with the details, what follows is my current understanding regarding the implementation of infrastructure on Gravina (an open response to Peg Travis' comments).

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:

Policy 3

Plan and accomplish transportation and economic development projects by partnering early with communities, private and commercial organizations, and federal and state agencies.

a. Identify potential users, potential funding sources and appropriate sharing of costs and expected benefits of transportation projects.
b. Encourage local ownership and investment in transportation infrastructure through evaluation criteria, accelerated project development and other incentives.
c. Engage in multi-agency cooperative forums that identify promising economic development projects, coordinate project development, and achieve economies of scale.
d. Work with freight and passenger industries to assess their infrastructure needs and encourage shared investment in project development.
e. Where new development renders an existing state transportation facility non-essential, seek to partner with other agencies and local entities to encourage transfer of ownership and facility reuse plans.
f. Develop the appropriate transportation infrastructure necessary for Alaska to be economically competitive locally and globally.

Policy 4

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.

a. Make use of area transportation plans to initially identify, explore and analyze new links to the transportation network, and assign a general purpose and need to plan recommendations.
b. Extend the highway, rail and ferry network if supported by careful analysis and compelling public need, and only after considering the interests of impacted communities.
c. Explore opportunities to improve economic efficiency and lower costs of transportation by adding or replacing transportation facilities, including modal alternatives.
d. Integrate ferry service with additions to the highway network in order to reduce ferry distance between non-contiguous highway segments.
e. Use public involvement to improve overall project worth and effectively address challenges to implementation

Policy 5

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.

a. Continue implementation of the Gateway Alaska Initiative to improve the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and access roads, investing in our unique global position.
b. Design transportation projects to highlight and reflect the geographic and social uniqueness of Alaska.
c. Incorporate national defense considerations into the planning and development of Alaska's transportation infrastructure, specifically corridors linking key military facilities, the Port of Anchorage, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and other facilities deemed significant to the nation's security.

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.

Rick Grams
Ketchikan, AK - USA


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.


Related Viewpoint:

letter Answers please... By Peg Travis - Ketchikan, AK - USA



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


Write a Letter -------Read Letters

E-mail the Editor

Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska