Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Access fund grows


A $10 million appropriation by the Alaska Legislature for Juneau access improvements raises to $45 million the amount the state has set aside for the project, state Rep. Cathy Munoz, R-Juneau, said last week.

The fund includes $10 million for materials secured by former Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski.

The $10 million from the legislature will go toward reconnaissance, defining a road route and getting documents ready to bid, Munoz said.

“The ($45 million) enables the project to begin construction,” Munoz said.

Building a road from Echo Cove to Katzehin is the state Department of Transportation’s preferred alternative for improving access to Juneau. However, a court ruling found that the state didn’t sufficiently study ferry-based alternatives in the environmental impact statement that resulted in the road option.

DOT is in the process of writing a supplemental EIS to address those issues.

“DOT is fleshing out ferry alternatives, but it’s confident the SEIS will demonstrate the road alternative is the most effective option,” Munoz said.

DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said the agency expects to release the SEIS by late fall or early winter, with a record of decision by June.

Former project manager Reuben Yost has been promoted to deputy commissioner at DOT. Mike Vigue is DOT’s new manager of the access project.