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Knik Arm Bridge Gets Fed Approval


December 17, 2010

(SitNews) - The Federal Highway Administration has signed a Record of Decision to allow the building of 19 miles of access roads and the construction of a toll bridge across nearly three miles of Alaska’s Knik Arm, connecting the Ports of Anchorage and MacKenzie.

The Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) announced Wednesday that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Knik Arm Crossing project. The approval of the Record of Decision by FHWA allows the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority to move forward with the permitting, right-of-way acquisition, final design, financing and construction of the project. During the final design, the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority will continue efforts to minimize any impacts that adversely affect social, economic, cultural and natural resources. "This is great news for Alaskans," said KABATA executive director, Andrew Niemiec. “The project has reached a major milestone with the signing of the ROD. We are now able to proceed forward with a project that is a reality rather than the dream it has been for decades.”

Congressman Don Young (R-AK) said in a prepared statement, "This has been a long time coming.  It has been five years since SAFETEA-LU was signed into law, and at last we are realizing a vision.  This project has endured environmental reviews, negotiations, and years of development but now we are finally ready to put the shovel to the ground and start developing Alaska for the betterment of our residents and the future of the state.  When I wrote the highway bill, I included $230 million for the Knik Arm Bridge because it had been a transportation priority for our state for decades and I was in a position to make it happen."

Young said,  “We have encountered many bumps along the way, but with this Record of Decision, we are ready to start a project that will provide jobs to Alaskans and economic growth for our future.  I’m realistic, and I know that extremists will again file lawsuits to stop construction because there are some people in this world who don’t want to see our country advance and do great things.  We need to ensure that this process is efficient and expedited and not allow these groups to stand in the way of what is good for Alaskans.  Enough with the politicking, it’s time to get to work!”  

Because the project is a toll facility, the revenues collected fund the construction, operations, maintenance and financing of the project. The toll platform also has the unique advantage of potentially contributing to a transportation fund for Alaska’s critical infrastructure needs.

Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority Board chairman, Michael Foster stated, “Delivering this project in the most beneficial manner to the State will remain at the forefront. The project also embraces the added benefits of regional connectivity between our ports, highways and access to natural resources, which are critical components that drive economic development and jobs in our State.”

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) states in the ROD, “Based on the analysis and evaluation contained in this project’s Final EIS and after careful consideration of all social, economic, and environmental factors and input from State and local governments, Tribes, and the public, it is my decision that the Northern Access – Erickson Alternative (with the Southern Alignment, 8,200-foot bridge length, cut-and-cover tunnel under Erickson Street) is hereby the Selected Alternative for the KAC project.”

The Knik Arm Crossing Project is being developed to meet the current and projected transportation needs of the Municipality of Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough. KABATA’s goal is to construct a cost-affordable, vehicular toll bridge of about 2.7 miles across Knik Arm to join the Port of Anchorage area and Port MacKenzie area, as well as 19 miles of road to support the bridge's accessibility. The purpose of this project is to build a bridge to fulfill the following needs:

• An efficient link between the operations and infrastructure of the two ports;
• An alternate north-south emergency response and disaster evacuation route;
• Transportation infrastructure for existing and projected population and economic growth; and
• Implementing the Alaska legislative mandate.



Source of News:

Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority

About KABATA: The Alaska Legislature established the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority in 2003 under Alaska Statute 19.75 to “develop, stimulate, and advance the economic welfare of the state and further the development of public transportation systems in the vicinity of Upper Cook Inlet with construction of a bridge to span Knik Arm and connect the Municipality of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.”

Office of Rep. Don Young



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