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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2014
No.: 14-2549
Contact: Jeremy Woodrow, 907-465-8994, Jeremy.Woodrow@alaska.gov 

Juneau Access Draft SEIS Available for Public Review

(JUNEAU, Alaska) –The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) today announced the release of the Juneau Access Improvements Project Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). The document is available for review and public comment, and may be found online at juneauaccess.alaska.gov.

The purpose and need for the Juneau Access Improvements Project is to provide improved transportation to and from Juneau within the Lynn Canal corridor that will reduce travel times, state and user costs, and provide capacity to meet demand and improve opportunity to travel. The Draft SEIS provides a detailed overview of potential surface transportation alternatives between Juneau and the communities of Haines and Skagway.

“Providing more opportunity and lower costs for Alaskans to travel to and from the state’s capital is our goal. Juneau Access not only benefits the region and the state, it provides the department more flexibility for scheduling ferries and planning other long-term transportation projects” said ADOT&PF Commissioner Pat Kemp. “Eliminating nearly 100 miles of ferry travel also allows communities such as Sitka to receive improved ferry service, a request that the community has voiced for many years.”

ADOT&PF and the Federal Highway Administration have identified Alternative 2B, known as the East Lynn Canal Highway, as the preferred alternative. This alternative connects the existing Juneau road system at Echo Cove to the Katzehin River Delta approximately 48 miles north. Ferry shuttle service would then be provided between Katzehin, Haines and Skagway. A separate shuttle ferry would also operate between Haines and Skagway during the summer.

The Draft SEIS may be found as a printed copy at the following locations: Juneau Public Library, Douglas Public Library, Mendenhall Public Library, Haines Borough Public Library and Skagway Public Library.

ADOT&PF will host an open house and hearing to present the Juneau Access Improvements Project Draft SEIS at the following locations and times:

Juneau - Tuesday, October 14: Centennial Hall Convention Center
Open House: 1 p.m. - Public Hearing: 5 p.m.

Haines - Wednesday, October 15: Chilkat Center for the Arts
Open House: 3 p.m. - Public Hearing: 6 p.m.

Skagway - Thursday, October 23: Skagway High School Multi-Purpose Room
Open House: 3 p.m. - Public Hearing: 6 p.m.

In 2006, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision for the Juneau Access Improvements Project. A 2009 U.S. District Court decision ruled the FEIS was not valid because it did not consider an alternative that would improve surface transportation in Lynn Canal with existing ferry assets. This ruling was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2011.

In September 2011, ADOT&PF announced that it would begin the process with the Federal Highway Administration to complete a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Juneau Access Improvements project.

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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