In 2012 the Alaska Legislature appropriated $40 million to construct a single lane gravel public road with inter-visible turnouts on the north end of Kupreanof Island between Kake and Petersburg. Available funding is believed sufficient to construct, within an existing national forest easement, 22 miles of new single lane unpaved roadway and bridges and improve approximately 23 miles of existing logging roads. A small shuttle ferry crossing of Wrangell Narrows would be required.
Photo: Existing logging road segment near Seal Point Access Road between Kake and Petersburg.
The project will require development of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Construction within the State’s easement on the northern corridor across Kupreanof Island is the most direct route and as such is currently the State’s preferred route. However, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires an assessment of the social, economic, and environmental impacts; and an evaluation of a full range of reasonable alternatives culminating in an informed decision.
The intent of the project is to improve access and mobility for the residents of Kake. A public road between Kake and Petersburg will improve transportation access to Petersburg’s commercial and medical services; and air, ferry, and freight transportation services. The road will also improve access to forest resources and support future transmission of low cost hydroelectric power.
A Notice of Intent to develop an EIS was published in the Federal Register on January 22, 2013. The EIS is anticipated to require up to three years reaching a Record of Decision. Every effort will be made to reach a conclusion as soon as possible.
More information is available on the Federal Highway Administration project website at the following external link:http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/ak/kake/