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Be Good to Gravina!
Gravina Access Highway and Bridge Projects
NEWS: Gravina Highway Poll Results Show 71% Opposed to Gravina Access Highway
A new poll released this week shows strong statewide
opposition to the Gravina Access Highway, a project which will cost
$25.7 million for 3.2 miles of road according to the Alaska Department
of Transportation and which leads to a bridge that has no assured funding.
NEW ARTICLES AND BLOGS
Gravina Island is the location of the proposed $395+ million bridge to nowhere. It is planned to span from the town of Ketchikan, over the Tongass Narrows and Pennock Island, finally touching down on Gravina. With the exception of the Ketchikan Airport, this small nearly undeveloped island is one of few islands in Southern Alaska to remain virtually untouched. Gravina Island is also what every Ketchikan resident views every day.
Even though Congress removed the funding earmark and the state can spend the money on any transportation project, the State of Alaska seems to want to go through with initial bridge construction. In November 2006 the State of Alaska gave a Notice of Request for Proposals for Phase 1 of the Ketchikan Gravina Island Access Project.
"The Project requires the design and construction of full width gravel roadway from the Lewis Reef Road near the Airport southerly to tidewater on the West Channel of Tongass Narrows, where succeeding projects will bridge across to Pennock and Revillagigedo (Revilla) Islands." according to the public online notice.
This Gravina Access Highway project, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation, was contracted out at a cost of $25.7 miilion on December 1, 2006. For this price we get 3.2 miles of road. That equates to about $8 million per mile. This contract was let by the previous administration under Frank Murkowski. The Gravina Highway was permitted by the Army Corps of Engineers on December 20, 2006, nearly three weeks after the contract was given to a company from Anchorage, Alaska.
Gravina Island is occupied by 50 people in 15 families. Many of these folks live there because the island has few roads. Alaska's former Governor Frank Murkowski has 33-acres of family owned land just south of Clam Cove on Gravina Island. Is there any wonder why Frank supports the Bridge to Nowhere and the Gravina Access Highway?
The communities surrounding this majestic island enjoy it for what it currently is: a fabulous location for subsistence hunting and gathering, a sanctuary for unique wildlife including the flying squirrel, and an historical and cultural symbol for the peoples of Native Saxman, Metlakatla, and Ketchikan. Those who are blinded by the prospects of overdevelopment throw the history and soul of Gravina Island to the side.
What Can You Do?
Write to our Governor Sarah Palin, and ask her to stop the Ketchikan Gravina Island Access Project. We as Ketchikan residents don't wish to line our former Governor's pockets anymore. We wish the funding to be re-directed to other transportation projects in Ketchikan and other communities around the state whom are in greater need of the funding for safety updates and repairs and vital, measurably beneficial new construction.
Go to the Official Governor Sarah Palin website and share your thoughts with the new Governor.
Gravina Island thanks you.
Roads and Bridges to Nowhere
Two Fights. One
The Bostwick Road to Nowhere
Gravina Island is currently being clearcut, and access to the timber occurs via the Bostwick road. We have monitored the status of this road for nearly a year, and construction continues illegally - without proper Army Corps of Engineers permits. The Clean Water Act is being violated as you read this.
As for the clearcuts, the activity is occuring on State owned lands and adjacent Alaska Mental Health Trust lands. At least ten cuts are simultaneously occuring.
We Need Your Help
Each of the parties involved with the project - including the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska Department of Transportation, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, and the US Forest Service - failed to be up front about the road when communicating with the public and the Army Corps of Engineers. No permits were sought for the project, thus allowing the construction to begin without proper oversight to protect water quality and habitat on Gravina. To date, over seven miles of road have been constructed, reaching beyond the majestic Bostwick Lake; erosion controls are all but non-existent; at least 8 unpermitted rock pits have been blasted; and 10 new clear cuts are being expanded as you read.
These highlight the activities still ongoing and still unpermitted. We fully expected a Cease and Desist order to come from the Army Corps of Engineers with the turning of the calendar. Due to administrative hand-tying orders from above, Corps staff responsible for issuing the order were prevented from doing so. Unfortunately, a significant amount of damage has already occurred, as you can see from the photos.
Letter - Bostwick Road (PDF)
Go to the Official
Governor Sarah Palin website and share your thoughts with the new
2. Contact the Army Corps of Engineers by calling: 800.478.2712. Ask the Corps to issue a Cease and Desist order for the Bostwick road immediately.
3. If you are an activist and are willing to participate
in direct action, please let