Juneau road is both costly and dangerous

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, September 18, 2006

Sure, a toll road may be cheaper to the vehicle traveler, if one doesn't add up all the costs. Though the state has argued that roads are cheaper to maintain than ferries, the latest Department of Transportation study indicates that, when all costs are considered, the road will cost the state many millions more over a 35-year period than continuing with the current ferry service in the Lynn Canal. Furthermore, DOT has a poor record for accurately estimating the cost of similar mega-projects. The Whittier Tunnel actually cost $89 million; it was originally estimated to come in at $48 million. Plus, with the number of recreation vehicles quadrupled the first year alone. Can you imagine the downtown traffic congestion?

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The Juneau Road extension would have serious avalanche danger. The state estimates that avalanches will close the road for at least one month every year. In addition to these dangers, drivers will also have to deal with treacherous icy freeze-thaw conditions, so typical in Southeast Alaska, while navigating a winding roadway along steep cliffs. Have you tried mid-winter driving to Echo Cove lately? I fear the accident tally, and as a parent, I wouldn't want to see school teams and field trips exposed to what would inevitably become the most dangerous road on the continent.

Let's use our transportation dollars wisely and safely by improving the efficiency of our ferry system.

Jeff Sloss


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