DOT to hold meetings in northern Panhandle

Juneau meeting scheduled for Jan. 13 at Centennial Hall

Posted: Thursday, January 06, 2005

The Alaska Department of Transportation will hold public meetings in northern Panhandle communities this month to discuss and solicit comments about future transportation projects.

The first meeting to discuss the Northern Panhandle Transportation Study and the Sitka Access Environmental Impact Statement will be held today in Sitka. Similar meetings will be held in 10 other northern Panhandle communities, including Juneau on Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. in Centennial Hall.

Meeting time and place

• Sitka: Today, 6 p.m., at the Harrigan Room in Centennial Hall.

• Gustavus: Monday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m. at the Gustavus school multi-purpose room.

• Elfin Cove: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m. at the Elfin Cove Community Center.

• Pelican: Tuesday, Jan. 11, 6 p.m. at the Pelican Community Hall.

• Hoonah: Wednesday, Jan. 12, 6 p.m. at City Hall.

• Juneau: Thursday, Jan. 13, 6 p.m. at Centennial Hall.

• Tenakee: Monday, Jan. 17, 10 a.m. at the Tenakee Community Hall.

• Angoon: Monday, Jan. 17, 6 p.m. at City Hall.

• Kake: Tuesday, Jan. 18, 6 p.m. at the Kake Community Hall.

• Port Alexander: Wednesday, Jan. 19, 10 a.m. at the Port Alexander Community Hall.

• Petersburg: Wednesday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m. at City Hall.

The regional study aims to identify transportation upgrades for the cities of Sitka, Gustavus, Elfin Cove, Pelican, Hoonah, Juneau, Tenakee, Angoon, Kake, Port Alexander and Petersburg. The plan will be incorporated into DOT's Southeast Alaska Transportation Plan.

The northern Panhandle study primarily focuses on travel by ferry and airplane, according to DOT planner Andy Hughes. He said DOT contracted with the Juneau consulting firm the McDowell Group last year to survey Southeast residents and air and marine carriers to learn more about transportation infrastructure and the availability of various services.

"We surveyed a statistically valid sample of households in the area to find out how the residents felt about how well they are served by air and marine transportation and what service deficiencies their communities are experiencing," he said.

The meetings also will discuss road transportation alternatives in Sitka, Hughes said.

"The road corridors identified in the plan will also be further evaluated and compared," Hughes said.

The Sitka Access study aims to identify planning alternatives and concerns for the environmental impact statement for plans to improve transportation in the Sitka area. Transportation upgrade alternatives for Sitka Access include construction of a road from Sitka to Rodman Bay and a ferry terminal; a road and tunnel east of Sitka to Warm Springs Bay with a new ferry terminal; other road alternatives on Baranof Island; alternative fast ferry and shuttle ferry service; an independent transfer facility on Chatham Strait with shuttle service to Sitka; and the alternative of taking no action.

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