Hughes is an Alaskan community of about 85 year- round residents (2020 census). The cemetery is inaccessible to many residents due to its location above the steep Koyukuk riverbank and bluff. To access the site during the summer, boats are tied up below the cemetery, where the bank is so steep that ropes must be used to climb it. This project will construct a 2.4-mile, gravel road from the Landfill Access Road to the community’s traditional cemetery. Sunny Lane Road will allow all season access to this site.
The proposed road will also provide much-needed recreational use for an active community. Dog mushing, walking, hiking, jogging, and biking are activities that will become more common and enjoyable as access to new areas become available. Finally, the proposed project will provide an essential fire-break to the extensive woodlands east of Hughes. The fire break will improve fire-watch and fire-fighting access.
The Sunny Lane Cemetery Access Road project will set the standard for collaboration and teamwork between the State of Alaska and its Rural Communities and Tribes. The State will work with the Hughes Village Council and the City of Hughes by providing the funding to design and build a 2.4-mile road to provide access to the community’s cemetery.
This project is unique because the State of Alaska and the community of Hughes will work together to prepare and train a quality workforce of local men and women. The workforce program will provide for meaningful and high-paying jobs. The end product will result in Hughes Village will having a trained workforce, with quality construction equipment to maintain and improve their infrastructure for years to come. The proposed project will have a long-lasting impact on the community as a new generation of construction workers are trained and employed. This sustainable workforce will help drive the economic growth of Hughes and the region.
On June 9th, a Hughes community meeting and potluck with the Hughes Village Council, the City of Hughes, surrounding region community leaders and members, DOT&PF commissioner's office members, and Northern Region staff celebrated the new approach to training with a project. A framework to set the standard for collaboration and teamwork between the State of Alaska and its Rural Communities and Tribes with the Sunny Lane project.
We're thrilled to announce the groundbreaking Sunny Lane Cemetery Access Road project, where collaboration and community focused transportation are improving how we work in Alaska.
Together with the Hughes Village Council and the City of Hughes, we're embarking on a journey to fund, design, and construct a 2.4-mile road, granting vital access to the heart of the community of Hughes' cemetery.
Hughes initiative showcases the power of partnership and the strength that lies within a collective effort. By working hand in hand, we'll redefine the way we work in Alaska.
Stay tuned as we update you on the progress of this project, highlighting the unwavering commitment and dedication of all involved. Together, we're building more than just a road to the final resting place of loved ones in Hughes; we're building a newly trained workforce and fostering a sense of togetherness that will endure for generations to come.
Below are a series of videos highlighting the process. We will continue to add content as the project progresses in 2023.