Passengers board the Ketchikan Gateway Borough Airport Ferry. Ferry berth and passenger facility upgrades are in the draft state transportation improvement plan.  (KRBD file photo)

About $90 million over the next few years is included the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP, for Ketchikan International Airport ferry service improvements.

They include new ferry berthing facilities, ferry passenger areas, parking improvements, an improved freight area, two new 24-passenger airport shuttles, road work on Gravina Island, replacing the Airport Creek bridge and building a hiking trail from Gravina Highway to Black Sands Beach State Park.

Most of those projects show appropriations starting this year, and continuing through 2019.

The Alaska Department of Transportation is taking public comments through the middle of this month on the STIP. The proposed plan covers this year through 2021, and includes road, bridge and transit projects that are eligible for federal matching funds.

Funding for Gravina access improvements will come from what’s left of a 2005 earmark originally meant for a bridge to Gravina. That project was canceled, and most of the $360 million earmark was directed to other transportation projects in the state.

Other proposed STIP projects for Ketchikan are:

  • Replacement of the two Waterfall Creek bridges on North Tongass Highway, with appropriations for this year and 2019;
  • Resurfacing and improvements to Tongass Avenue from Hoadley Creek Bridge to the downtown tunnel, with some appropriations this year, but most scheduled for 2020.
  • The ongoing Water Street trestle rehabilitation, with appropriations continuing through 2021;
  • Replacement of the Sayles/Gorge viaduct, with most of the appropriations set for 2021.
  • Reconstruction of Front, Mill and Stedman Streets, with appropriations starting this spring;
  • Reconstruction of South Tongass Highway from Deermount to Saxman, with appropriations slated for 2019 and 2020;
  • Reconstruction of South Tongass Highway from Saxman to Surf Street, with appropriations set for 2020 and 2021;
  • Replacement of the Herring Cove Bridge, with added pedestrian access. Appropriations are scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

Also listed on the draft STIP are projects for Prince of Wales Island. They are:

  • Refurbishment of InterIsland Ferry Authority ferries, with about $3.5 million appropriated for this year.
  • Road construction in the Kasaan area, including clearing, realignment, drainage, surfacing and utility work. The area is from Segments nine and 10 of the PS&E package. The appropriation is scheduled for this year.
  • In the Whale Pass area, reconstruction of about 8 miles of Neck Lake Road to provide a narrow two-lane road. The appropriation is scheduled for after 2021.
  • In the Hollis area, purchase of a 10-foot-wide bridge for the Harris River Crossing. Appropriations are set for this year and 2019.

You can see the entire draft STIP and/or leave a comment here

DOT will accept public comment on the draft STIP through March 16th.

Public comments can also be submitted through by phone at (907) 465-4070, email to, fax (907) 465-6984, or mail Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, Division of Program Development, STIP Office, PO BOX 112500, Juneau, AK 99811-2500.