Second crossing scoping session slated for November

Planners trying to find out public's key areas of concern about bridge

Posted: Friday, October 17, 2003

Local analysts are assessing the results of a telephone survey about a possible second bridge from Juneau to Douglas Island, with public scoping meetings on the project scheduled for early November.

Meetings will be Nov. 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Baranof Hotel and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Mendenhall Mall, said Alex Cousins with Oregon-based Jeanne Lawson Associates Inc., an Oregon-based consulting firm working on the project.

"The purpose of the meetings is to get feedback from folks on issues or concerns people have at this stage of the process. We want to know the key issues folks are concerned about that need to be addressed as the environmental impact study unfolds," Cousins said.

The McDowell Group completed a survey of about 300 households, about 200 stall renters in Juneau's harbors, and between 80 and 100 gillnetters and trollers at the beginning of the month, said McDowell Group consultant Jim Calvin. He said the results are being analyzed and will be released around the time of the public scoping meetings.

"The purpose of the survey is to measure public support for the concept of a second crossing to see how it stacks up in relation to other transportation development priorities around town," Calvin said.

The project study area includes about nine miles of Gastineau Channel from the Salmon Creek area to the Mendenhall Peninsula. Calvin said the survey included fishermen and other boat owners to determine how frequently that area is traveled and how much clearance would be needed under a potential bridge.

The proposed bridge would be a half-mile to a mile and a half long, and is estimated to cost about $60 million.

Sam Kito, the city's transportation development manager, said the city appears to have obtained enough funding to cover the whole EIS process. The city has a $2.1 million federal appropriation and a recent draft statewide transportation improvement program included $2.5 million in funding for the project.

"That will get us completely through the EIS, which will start upon completion of the scoping phase, which we're still anticipating will be finished in the beginning of 2004," Kito said.

After the McDowell Group releases its survey results, the city will begin working with the Assembly toward a resolution in support of the project, Kito said.

The bridge's construction is still at least seven years away.

A notice of intent to prepare an EIS on the proposal was published in the Federal Register last week.

• Masha Herbst can be reached at masha.herbst@juneauempire.com.



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