Local News

Assembly to move forward on Gravina Access

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly will move ahead with a decision on the Gravina Access Project at its regular meeting Monday.

The Assembly voted earlier this month to in effect endorse improved ferry service over bridges from Revilla Island to Gravina. That vote directed Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst to submit comments to the state Department of Transportation to that end, while also requesting an extended comment period on the project.

Now, with that comment period over and a formal decision pending by the borough, a final motion proposed and postponed on August 5 will be brought forward for debate and a vote.

It’s a bit complicated, if not symbolic.

Officially, the resolution calls for two bridges between the islands while soundly rejecting the No Action Alternative, which as its name implies, would keep the status quo. If the Alaska Department of Transportation is unwilling to support the borough’s desire for bridges, which is all but certain, the borough will move ahead with an amendment attached to the resolution.

The new language says that while the borough has supported the idea of bridges across the Tongass Narrows for 40 years, the political and economic climate at the state and federal levels prevents that option. Given that situation, the new resolution says, the borough formally endorses improved ferry service.

The Assembly also will consider supporting efforts by the Gateway Borough School District to install a new boiler at the North Point Higgins School. The School Board is considering accepting an offer from R&M Engineering of Ketchikan to put a new biomass heater in that school; but before it formally invites proposals for a boiler it hopes to receive the endorsement of the Borough Assembly.

The Assembly meets at 5:30pm in Borough Assembly Chambers in the White Cliff Building. Public comment will be heard at the start of the meeting.

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