Readers: What happened to replacing the bridge?

Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Crooked Creek crossing was located near Mile 111 of the Sterling Highway on Johnson Lake Road and was washed out in the fall 2002 flood. We note from an article in the paper that ConocoPhillips has donated $60,000 along with unspecified state funds to restore the area and replace fish viewing platforms.

Now we are not opposed to fish or fish viewing platforms, but we think the crossing that was there for many years should be replaced first.

We need a bridge as it is our primary egress (and shortest) in case of a fire in the area. If a major fire should occur, all the traffic in this vast area would have to funnel into the only other (and longer) exit. Replacing this bridge would allow for a faster egress from the area by dividing the traffic flow to the Sterling Highway.

By allowing the closure of this exit to remain, it has the potential of endangering not only the families who live in this area, but also the many tourists with motor homes and visitors who use the Johnson Lake State Park area as their summer retreat.

On April 24, 2003, 57 people attended a community meeting at the Tustumena Elementary School concerning this bridge, and all indicated their support for its replacement. Some time later, a petition was left at the post office and the Kasilof Mercantile that was signed by many more. We don’t know what happened to that petition, but we signed it.

There was some mention of the banks eroding into the fish bearing stream; we agree that’s a problem. We think the solution to this problem is to install bridge abutments on each bank and a bridge spanning the creek.

We understand that FEMA had allocated emergency money not only for this project, but for other projects in this area due to the extent of the flood damage. The other bridges that were washed out from the flood have been replaced. It has come to our attention that the money for this Crooked Creek project has now been spent on other projects, even though FEMA at the time felt it was deserving of emergency funds to have a bridge replacement.

If you have any thoughts or concerns about the bridge replacement, we would suggest you contact the paper and Gov. Palin, Sen. Wagoner and Rep. Chenault.

We, along with the community of Kasilof, would appreciate your support for this worthy project.

Paul and Martha Elkins

Marty and Susan Savely


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