Waiting for road costs makes sense

Posted: Friday, June 20, 2008

At our temporary home in Bend, Ore., my family and I have been quietly following the news coming out of Juneau.

I was pleasantly surprised to read the May 9 statement of our new and refreshing governor, Sarah Palin. She announced that it was more fiscally conservative to wait for the litigation to conclude and for more accurate cost estimates to be available, before making the decision to go forward with the Juneau Access Project.

My family and I were so relieved, and felt like a true sense of honesty and transparency has been restored to our government and state. Obviously, this woman is road-wise compared to the somewhat shady and over-eager, road-happy fellows at the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

I don't say this in a mean sprit, but the great deal of momentum and the huge investment that Mal Menzies, the regional manager at Southeast DOT, is referring to in the article seems pointless, self-centered, and is an embarrassment of good government spending.

I have lived and worked as a carpenter in Haines for 17 years. My family and I are currently building our dream home on the west side of Mud Bay, overlooking Lynn Canal, which is directly across Grand Point sea lion haul-out.

The non-stop echo of the roaring sea lions and spouting whales are always reverberating over the waters from the east side. Our biggest nightmare would be to watch and listen to the destruction occurring on this rugged coastline, as the rock-crushing, self-seeking DOT makes its way up Lynn Canal.

I can understand our governor's fading support for this project. She is not about to ignore the overwhelming, scientific evidence of the Golder Report, which documents 31 active avalanche shoots, 52 rock-fall hazard areas, 42 debris-flow hazards, and two massive rockslide areas: all of which impact just 22.2 miles of the alignment.

In addition, there is a serious pubic outcry against this ridiculously expensive dead end road to nowhere. We have asked time and time again to put the money toward the already existing Alaska Marine Highway System. I truly hope to continue to hear the call of the wilderness, instead of the noise of heavy machinery followed by traffic.

Lorin Hayden

Bend, Ore.

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