PETERSBURG — The state of Alaska is moving forward with plans to construct a controversial road linking the city of Petersburg to Kake as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program.
The proposed road from Kake would end at Wrangell Narrows across from Petersburg, where a shuttle ferry would then pick up passengers to complete the trip.
The Kake Access Project calls for building 27 miles of unpaved road and upgrades to another 26 miles of logging roads, KFSK-FM reported.
Funding for the $37 million project is covered under the budget year that begins July 2017.
“It’s our way to show the federal government how we intend to spend federal transportation dollars over the course of the next four years,” said Jeremy Woodrow, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation. “It doesn’t ultimately mean that we’ll spend those dollars exactly on a specific project when we propose it.”
Transportation planners are considering three possible routes for the project. Two are roads with a shuttle ferry. One would increase Alaska Marine Highway sailings.
Both plans have been met with criticism by opponents who say the project would harm the environment or waste money, because traffic is expected to be light.
Woodrow said planners are not dead set on any one option and are open to finding a plan that works best.
“The final determination from that review might determine that there is a different mode that should be reviewed or that maybe there’s a no-action alternative,” Woodrow said. “So really, everything’s still on the table.”
A draft of the project’s environmental impact statement is due next year.
Information from: KFSK-FM, http://www.alaska.net/~kfsk/