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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 6, 2020
Press Release: 20-0038
Contact: Sam Dapcevich, sam.dapcevich@alaska.gov, (907) 465-4503

Ketchikan South Tongass Highway Repairs Project Funding Approved
Work anticipated to begin early this summer

(Juneau, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) recently secured funds to repair deteriorated segments of Ketchikan's South Tongass Highway between USCG Base Ketchikan and the City of Saxman. Work is anticipated to occur this summer; the project will repair existing potholes and place an asphalt overlay to provide smoother roadway surfaces and increase safety until two larger projects begin in 2022.

This year-to-date the DOT&PF Ketchikan maintenance crew has placed more than 60 tons of patching material in pothole repairs. Applying asphalt patching material in winter conditions, such as wet, snow-covered or frozen pavements that are frequent in Ketchikan often leads to a repair that is not durable and is likely to require additional patching in short order.

In March 2020, Senator Bert Stedman and DOT&PF Commissioner John MacKinnon visited Ketchikan and observed how last winter’s freeze-thaw cycles caused rutting and potholes along the South Tongass Highway. DOT&PF engineers were tasked with designing a project to repair the road surface until larger planned projects take place in 2022 and 2023.

"This repair project is a high priority for our department and the communities of Ketchikan and Saxman,” said DOT&PF Commissioner John MacKinnon. “We are extremely motivated to continue advancing projects that benefit our communities and put more Alaskans back to work.”

Senator Bert Stedman also commented on the project: “I want to thank DOT and Commissioner MacKinnon for working with me over the last several months to address the driving safety concerns of the citizens in Ketchikan. This project will improve the road much better than the temporary patching efforts made this past winter. I look forward to more permanent improvements to Ketchikan’s roads in the near future.”

Until this summer's repair project is complete DOT&PF asks drivers to be careful and prudent, which means ‘slow down,’ as we work to maintain and repair the pavement surfaces.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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