The letter touting the financial advantages of having a road from Juneau to Skagway omits a great deal of information. One-hundred-and-fifty-million dollars for the road does not take into account the cost of maintenance. First, the road must be blasted out of the rock that is the border of Lynn Canal. Let’s assume the $150 million is for that chore. But nothing is said of the avalanches that surely will occur or the cost of snow sheds that will be required in winter along the entire route.
The advantage to the Kensington Mine is brought up, but if the mine really wants the road why doesn’t it build it? Oh, we’re told with a sunny smile, the mine can contribute electricity via regular power lines along the route. How long will they last when the heavy snows come down? And the cost of repairs made more difficult or impossible because of the snow?
The high price of operating the ferries somehow overlooks the sad fact that a ferry will have to be used for the last eighteen miles anyway as the National Park in Haines has decreed no road. And how much cost will that be?
When I moved here from Sitka around 20 years ago I was rather amused by the argument for and against building the road.
Sad that it does continue even though the state is running a $3 billion deficit with more predicted and our Permanent Fund is under threat, that any rational argument could be made to invest not only millions to build a road up Lynn Canal that currently and easily is traversed daily by state ferries.
It is no longer an amusing local battle. We can’t afford and don’t need that road.