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My Turn: Yes we can!

Norway's road tunnels maybe a solution to Southeast transportation needs

Posted: December 7, 2011 - 1:00am

Recently my wife and I had the privilege of visiting Norway. There are many similarities with Southeast Alaska: majestic mountains cascading into fjords, limited population in the North, some of the same flowers which blossom here and a national permanent fund 13 times larger than our Alaska Permanent Fund.

But there were also significant differences including a mindset among the people to refrain from solving international problems by military force, to build up and maintain the infrastructure of the country for the good of all and a willingness to venture into new cutting edge areas.

We drove through several of the 900+ roadway tunnels connecting the people.

The world’s longest highway tunnel, 15.2 miles, is in Norway, opened in 2000 and burrows beneath mountains towering almost 6000 feet.

One much shorter tunnel through which we traversed frequently made it possible for people on the far side of the dead end road to have easy access to the main roadway system.

It makes me think of our capital city. Those who say a road cannot be safely built point to the towering mountains, the danger of avalanches, and the cost of construction and maintenance. Yet we are a nation of 300+ million people, Norway just under 5 million.

Some say an access road would forever change the complexion of Juneau. It wouldn’t be the same anymore!

Is Juneau the same today as 50 years ago? Do you drive Egan Expressway or shop at Fred Meyers and Costco?

I enjoy all of them along with our long-time local businesses. What a difference a few well constructed tunnels and bridges would make on a Juneau access roadway!

Who knows, we might even find some gold in the process!

It’s time to adopt a positive attitude: Yes we can!

• Beran is an 18+ year resident who lives Out the Road.

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