State announces study to build Juneau road

Posted: Thursday, June 05, 2003

JUNEAU (AP) The state Department of Transportation said it plans to study building a road up the west side of Lynn Canal to Haines as part of the Juneau Access Project.

The Juneau Access Project was restarted by Gov. Frank Murkowski in December to study transportation alternatives between Juneau, Haines and Skagway. The project was shelved in 1999 by former Gov. Tony Knowles, who favored fast ferry service over road construction.

Other alternatives include a road connecting Juneau and Skagway with a shuttle ferry between Skagway and Haines or enhanced ferry service between the three communities. The road between Juneau and Skagway is the state's preferred alternative for the project.

A preliminary draft environmental impact statement for the Juneau Access Project should be completed this February and out for public review in June 2004, said Reuben Yost, a project designer for DOT. The completed draft EIS is expected to be done by November 2004 and the state could begin contracts for the project in 2005.

Yost said the west side alternative was added to the study at the request of the city of Haines, the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Forest Service.

Under that scenario, travelers would take a ferry from Juneau to the west side of Lynn Canal and then drive to Haines. Those traveling to Skagway would then have to board another ferry in Haines to reach their destination.

DOT also is studying an alternative that would result in construction of a road from Juneau to the Katzehin River, about five miles southeast of Haines on the east side of Lynn Canal. Two shuttle ferries would carry travelers from the mouth of the Katzehin to Haines and Skagway.

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