The state’s Gravina Access project draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement will be released Friday for public review and comment.
The project to improve transportation between Ketchikan’s Revillagigedo and Gravina islands has been an ongoing topic for many years. It appeared at one time that the alternative recommended by local elected officials – two bridges spanning Pennock Island – would be built, when a federal earmark was approved specifically for the project.
However, in response to a national backlash against earmarks in 2007, then-Gov. Sarah Palin stopped that project, and directed the Department of Transportation to find a cheaper alternative.
The department has developed six alternatives for the draft SEIS, two bridge alternatives and four ferry concepts.
One bridge alternative crosses Tongass Narrows at the airport, and the other is a modification of the plan for two bridges crossing Pennock.
Three of the ferry alternatives are similar to those presented in 2004, with additional features that DOT officials say would enhance facilities for airport travelers and improve heavy freight movement to Gravina.
A new ferry alternative would improve existing airport ferry operations, but would add new ferries and terminals only if travel demand warrants.
Limited information was available Thursday, but the full document should be online tomorrow Friday.
The Draft SEIS will be posted at the Gravina Access Project website: dot.alaska.gov/sereg/projects/gravina_access.
Printed copies also will be available at the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, City of Ketchikan and City of Saxman offices; the Ketchikan Indian Community and Organized Village of Saxman offices; and the Ketchikan and Metlakatla public libraries.