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Author Topic: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project  (Read 2119 times)

Kniwt

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Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« on: May 17, 2018, 09:54:17 AM »

The CBC reports:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/alaska-juneau-road-access-project-1.4665948

Quote
Alaska officials are hoping to make funds available to give the Juneau Access Project another go.

The state Legislature passed a spending bill that funds several projects throughout Southeast Alaska. Among them is the access project, which would build 80 kilometres of road to the coastline, where a ferry would take cars to Skagway or Haines, Coast Alaska News reported Tuesday.

That would connect the communities with the state's road system, making the state capital much more accessible.

... Opponents have said the project would damage the ocean and shore where the road would be built. They are also concerned that travellers also would still have to take a short ferry ride to connect to the mainland road system.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 07:18:44 PM »

Weren't they going to make the capital more accessible by moving the capital to Anchorage?
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 07:49:38 PM »

Weren't they going to make the capital more accessible by moving the capital to Anchorage?

Or somewhere in the vicinity, like Willow in the Mat-Su Valley. Juneau of course jumped up and down and screamed, but the rest of the state also had mixed feelings about moving the state legislature closer to them. A lot of the state government is already headquartered in Anchorage, anyway.

The governor might veto the road plan, like he did a similar one two years ago, on the grounds that the state doesn't have the money (maybe higher oil prices have improved the fiscal outlook since then). The other, unmentioned, issue is that the Federal appeals court whose jurisdiction includes Alaska seems to really have it in for projects like this, and AFAIK the state hasn't cleared all the environmental hurdles. I'm unsure how that can be solved.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 08:27:03 PM by oscar »
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2018, 01:02:02 AM »

If it still requires a ferry ride, just a shorter one, it doesn't count as "connecting with the state's road system".

A fact not noted in the article is the reason why a shorter ferry ride and not simply building the road all the way to Skagway - political exploitation of Section 4(f).

Originally, the proposal from the state was to build the road all the way to Skagway, actually connecting to the North American road network. But the city of Skagway was opposed to this idea. So, they went and designated basically the entire area between where development currently ends and the city limits on the south side of the east shore as a city park specifically in order to block this proposal. Section 4(f) says you can't take parkland to build infrastructure unless there is no viable alternative, so the state was forced to scale the plan back and still keep a shorter ferry ride in order to avoid touching the "park".
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2018, 09:52:26 AM »

Is not the political situation in Alaska that Juneau is the "capital" that just means the legislature meets there and the governor has an "official residence" there, but the actual day to day bureaucrats that run government are based in the Anchorage area, as is the judicial branch. 

The Alaska Capital Building is an old federal courthouse from pre-statehood days, and looks like the older federal courthouse in most medium sized cities across the USA, and not like a traditional capital. 

Would it not make more sense to just build a nice traditional capital building and governor's residence somewhere near Anchorage?
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2018, 09:57:29 AM »

Is not the political situation in Alaska that Juneau is the "capital" that just means the legislature meets there and the governor has an "official residence" there, but the actual day to day bureaucrats that run government are based in the Anchorage area, as is the judicial branch. 

The Alaska Capital Building is an old federal courthouse from pre-statehood days, and looks like the older federal courthouse in most medium sized cities across the USA, and not like a traditional capital. 

Would it not make more sense to just build a nice traditional capital building and governor's residence somewhere near Anchorage?
Sure it would, but we'll never know that now. And if/when the new road opens, you'll probably still need a four-wheel drive vehicle to access the state capital anyway.
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oscar

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2018, 10:39:26 AM »

Originally, the proposal from the state was to build the road all the way to Skagway, actually connecting to the North American road network. But the city of Skagway was opposed to this idea. So, they went and designated basically the entire area between where development currently ends and the city limits on the south side of the east shore as a city park specifically in order to block this proposal. Section 4(f) says you can't take parkland to build infrastructure unless there is no viable alternative, so the state was forced to scale the plan back and still keep a shorter ferry ride in order to avoid touching the "park".

A little more complicated than that. Haines, the main ferry port to get to Juneau, jumped up and down and screamed over being bypassed. Skagway would've been equally upset if a bridge were built across Lynn Canal to get to Haines (especially if it would've cut off Skagway from the ferry system), but my guess is it also wasn't thrilled at the prospect of Juneau-bound tourists just driving through Skagway without having to wait for a ferry and shop at local merchants while they waited. The shuttle ferry plan leaves Haines and Skagway on equal footing, and more importantly makes them much less likely to oppose the project (the enviros will be trouble enough).

And if/when the new road opens, you'll probably still need a four-wheel drive vehicle to access the state capital anyway.

Nope. Would be just a regular two-lane road, except for the avalanche sheds. And if there's an avalanche the sheds can't handle, a 4x4 will do you no good.

The north end of existing AK 7 north of Juneau, starting at Echo Cove, is unpaved. However, at that point the last few miles of the highway is basically just for mine access for now. No reason not to pave it, if the highway were extended. And even if it were unpaved, so what? My Prius easily handled it.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 10:42:49 AM by oscar »
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Duke87

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2018, 12:16:28 PM »

If the concern is Haines and Skagway maintaining equal footing, the more robust solution would be to build a fixed connection to both.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2018, 03:42:42 PM »

Does anyone think this road will be built this time around? Count me as skeptical.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2018, 08:37:48 PM »

If it still requires a ferry ride, just a shorter one, it doesn't count as "connecting with the state's road system".

A fact not noted in the article is the reason why a shorter ferry ride and not simply building the road all the way to Skagway - political exploitation of Section 4(f).

Originally, the proposal from the state was to build the road all the way to Skagway, actually connecting to the North American road network. But the city of Skagway was opposed to this idea. So, they went and designated basically the entire area between where development currently ends and the city limits on the south side of the east shore as a city park specifically in order to block this proposal. Section 4(f) says you can't take parkland to build infrastructure unless there is no viable alternative, so the state was forced to scale the plan back and still keep a shorter ferry ride in order to avoid touching the "park".
There really needs to be a way of saying "the 'park' was placed only to stop the project, therefore Section 4(f) does not apply".  That would cut these shenanigans right out.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2018, 09:54:51 PM »

Do it right and build a highway that would connect Juneau to the continental highway system.
No ferry segment. 
No excuses.
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sparker

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2018, 02:52:43 AM »

Do it right and build a highway that would connect Juneau to the continental highway system.
No ferry segment. 
No excuses.

In this case, much easier said than done.  Two possibilities:  favoring a connection (via Yukon) to the rest of Alaska, which would mean the previously planned road north to Skagway/Haines by carving a ledge along the side of the inland waterway (and ignoring/bypassing the Skagway obstacles).  The alternative, which would be better at connecting Juneau to the "lower 48", would be to head southeast then northeast along the Taku inlet, which would also entail carving a ledge above the waterway.  Following these inlets, regardless of the obstacles required to deploy a road beside them, would be effectively the sole way to get across the rather formidable mountain range that lies along the border between the Alaskan "panhandle" and British Columbia (that is, unless Elon Musk's new boring machine comes on line immediately -- and if the schedule for the release of the Tesla Model 3 is any indication, that's not likely!).

Juneau -- regardless of direction, if you want out by road, there's a fjord in your future  :) (that pun certainly dates me!).   
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Beltway

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2018, 06:20:27 AM »

Do it right and build a highway that would connect Juneau to the continental highway system.
No ferry segment. 
No excuses.
In this case, much easier said than done.  Two possibilities:  favoring a connection (via Yukon) to the rest of Alaska, which would mean the previously planned road north to Skagway/Haines by carving a ledge along the side of the inland waterway (and ignoring/bypassing the Skagway obstacles).  The alternative, which would be better at connecting Juneau to the "lower 48", would be to head southeast then northeast along the Taku inlet, which would also entail carving a ledge above the waterway.  Following these inlets, regardless of the obstacles required to deploy a road beside them, would be effectively the sole way to get across the rather formidable mountain range that lies along the border between the Alaskan "panhandle" and British Columbia (that is, unless Elon Musk's new boring machine comes on line immediately -- and if the schedule for the release of the Tesla Model 3 is any indication, that's not likely!).
Juneau -- regardless of direction, if you want out by road, there's a fjord in your future  :) (that pun certainly dates me!).   

Instead of "carving a ledge", how about building a viaduct?
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sparker

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2018, 06:09:05 PM »

Do it right and build a highway that would connect Juneau to the continental highway system.
No ferry segment. 
No excuses.
In this case, much easier said than done.  Two possibilities:  favoring a connection (via Yukon) to the rest of Alaska, which would mean the previously planned road north to Skagway/Haines by carving a ledge along the side of the inland waterway (and ignoring/bypassing the Skagway obstacles).  The alternative, which would be better at connecting Juneau to the "lower 48", would be to head southeast then northeast along the Taku inlet, which would also entail carving a ledge above the waterway.  Following these inlets, regardless of the obstacles required to deploy a road beside them, would be effectively the sole way to get across the rather formidable mountain range that lies along the border between the Alaskan "panhandle" and British Columbia (that is, unless Elon Musk's new boring machine comes on line immediately -- and if the schedule for the release of the Tesla Model 3 is any indication, that's not likely!).
Juneau -- regardless of direction, if you want out by road, there's a fjord in your future  :) (that pun certainly dates me!).   

Instead of "carving a ledge", how about building a viaduct?

In reality, I would imagine that construction of any road through that terrain would employ both viaducts and hillside construction as deemed necessary by engineers.  Since were talking about roadways 30-50 miles in length, it's likely the design and construction techniques would widely vary -- I'd expect multiple tunnels as well.  In any case, it would be difficult to deploy -- but likely fun to drive (at least in times other than the dead of winter!) -- it would probably be considered among the world's most scenic highways.
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oscar

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2018, 06:36:22 PM »

The alternative, which would be better at connecting Juneau to the "lower 48", would be to head southeast then northeast along the Taku inlet, which would also entail carving a ledge above the waterway.  Following these inlets, regardless of the obstacles required to deploy a road beside them, would be effectively the sole way to get across the rather formidable mountain range that lies along the border between the Alaskan "panhandle" and British Columbia (that is, unless Elon Musk's new boring machine comes on line immediately -- and if the schedule for the release of the Tesla Model 3 is any indication, that's not likely!).

British Columbia has historically been unfriendly to proposed new highways to southeast Alaska, especially if they would connect to ports that might compete with Stewart BC's deep-water port. So getting Canadian cooperation is a maybe at best.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2018, 11:12:39 PM »

Then maybe it is time to move the capital, if they are not going to connect Juneau to the continental highway system.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2018, 11:48:18 PM »

The alternative, which would be better at connecting Juneau to the "lower 48", would be to head southeast then northeast along the Taku inlet, which would also entail carving a ledge above the waterway.  Following these inlets, regardless of the obstacles required to deploy a road beside them, would be effectively the sole way to get across the rather formidable mountain range that lies along the border between the Alaskan "panhandle" and British Columbia (that is, unless Elon Musk's new boring machine comes on line immediately -- and if the schedule for the release of the Tesla Model 3 is any indication, that's not likely!).

British Columbia has historically been unfriendly to proposed new highways to southeast Alaska, especially if they would connect to ports that might compete with Stewart BC's deep-water port. So getting Canadian cooperation is a maybe at best.
I can't imagine any port in that part of AK is going to compete.

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2018, 03:48:49 PM »

The alternative, which would be better at connecting Juneau to the "lower 48", would be to head southeast then northeast along the Taku inlet, which would also entail carving a ledge above the waterway.  Following these inlets, regardless of the obstacles required to deploy a road beside them, would be effectively the sole way to get across the rather formidable mountain range that lies along the border between the Alaskan "panhandle" and British Columbia (that is, unless Elon Musk's new boring machine comes on line immediately -- and if the schedule for the release of the Tesla Model 3 is any indication, that's not likely!).

British Columbia has historically been unfriendly to proposed new highways to southeast Alaska, especially if they would connect to ports that might compete with Stewart BC's deep-water port. So getting Canadian cooperation is a maybe at best.

Both Stewart and adjoining Prince Rupert have a major transcontinental rail line (CN) terminating at their port facilities -- which no Alaska panhandle city features.  The only facilities in those towns are geared toward tourism and commercial fishing; the Canadian ports to the south have nothing to fear from enhanced access to Juneau et. al.  Those containers going to Edmonton and beyond will continue to do so from B.C. ports for the foreseeable future.
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oscar

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2018, 04:16:51 PM »

British Columbia has historically been unfriendly to proposed new highways to southeast Alaska, especially if they would connect to ports that might compete with Stewart BC's deep-water port. So getting Canadian cooperation is a maybe at best.

Both Stewart and adjoining Prince Rupert have a major transcontinental rail line (CN) terminating at their port facilities -- which no Alaska panhandle city features.  The only facilities in those towns are geared toward tourism and commercial fishing; the Canadian ports to the south have nothing to fear from enhanced access to Juneau et. al.  Those containers going to Edmonton and beyond will continue to do so from B.C. ports for the foreseeable future.

The concern is not incoming container shipments, but rather outgoing shipments of logs and ore that currently go out of Stewart's port. I remember that concern was expressed about a proposed road from Wrangell connecting to the Cassiar Highway (BC 37), which was another Alaskan idea that got nowhere with BC.

Wrangell has limited port facilities, as does Juneau, though both already handle large ferry vessels and (at least for Juneau) cruise ships. But that doesn't mean more extensive facilities couldn't be developed, if a new road created demand for them.

BTW, Stewart BC appears to have no rail link to the rest of Canada. The CN mainline goes straight to Prince Rupert, with a short spur south to Kitimat (best known for processing incoming bauxite ore shipments, and shipping out refined aluminum, via Douglas Channel).

Then maybe it is time to move the capital, if they are not going to connect Juneau to the continental highway system.

So should British Columbia move its capital from Victoria (like Juneau, only ferry connections to the mainland highway system) to somewhere on the mainland?
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 04:44:27 PM by oscar »
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2018, 10:14:56 PM »

So should British Columbia move its capital from Victoria (like Juneau, only ferry connections to the mainland highway system) to somewhere on the mainland?
Yes. But that's not a roads topic.

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2018, 08:06:49 PM »

They need to make this a priority and not let any small towns or any ports whether they stand to loose money or not block an infrastructure project that would be really beneficial to the country as a whole. What I mean by that is not that it will make much of difference, but a bunch of smaller projects like this around the country is what makes our infrastructure great.

My opinion about the capital is even if they build this road they should still build a new and shiny capital in Anchorage.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2018, 10:20:43 PM »

Personally, I'd like to see a 100% road (as in, no ferries at all along the route) built to Juneau, just out of principle (and because it'd be cool!) And that's regardless of whether or not Juneau remains the capital.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2018, 11:23:52 PM »

Personally, I'd like to see a 100% road (as in, no ferries at all along the route) built to Juneau, just out of principle (and because it'd be cool!) And that's regardless of whether or not Juneau remains the capital.

Despite critics' hysterics, Juneau road makes sense for Alaska
https://www.adn.com/opinions/2016/10/04/despite-critics-hysterics-juneau-road-makes-sense-for-alaska/

The construction of the Lynn Canal Highway connecting Juneau, Haines and Skagway, first proposed more than 50 years ago, is back in the news. Apparently, Gov. Bill Walker is considering moving ahead on the most recent version of this project (labeled Alternative 2B). This should be good news to most Alaskans who want to see more affordable and convenient transportation options available in the Southeast region and throughout our state.

See URL for rest.
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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2018, 02:17:05 AM »

Personally, I'd like to see a 100% road (as in, no ferries at all along the route) built to Juneau, just out of principle (and because it'd be cool!) And that's regardless of whether or not Juneau remains the capital.

Despite critics' hysterics, Juneau road makes sense for Alaska
https://www.adn.com/opinions/2016/10/04/despite-critics-hysterics-juneau-road-makes-sense-for-alaska/

The construction of the Lynn Canal Highway connecting Juneau, Haines and Skagway, first proposed more than 50 years ago, is back in the news. Apparently, Gov. Bill Walker is considering moving ahead on the most recent version of this project (labeled Alternative 2B). This should be good news to most Alaskans who want to see more affordable and convenient transportation options available in the Southeast region and throughout our state.

See URL for rest.
October 2016 and opinion. No need to click.

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Re: Alaska officials look to resurrect Juneau road project
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2018, 06:41:44 AM »

Despite critics' hysterics, Juneau road makes sense for Alaska
https://www.adn.com/opinions/2016/10/04/despite-critics-hysterics-juneau-road-makes-sense-for-alaska/
The construction of the Lynn Canal Highway connecting Juneau, Haines and Skagway, first proposed more than 50 years ago, is back in the news. Apparently, Gov. Bill Walker is considering moving ahead on the most recent version of this project (labeled Alternative 2B). This should be good news to most Alaskans who want to see more affordable and convenient transportation options available in the Southeast region and throughout our state.
See URL for rest.
October 2016 and opinion. No need to click.

There was a Final EIS and ROD approved by FHWA in 2006 for Alternative 2B.

"Alternative 2B would construct a 50.8-mile two-lane highway from the end of Glacier Highway at Echo Cove around Berners Bay and along the eastern coast of Lynn Canal to a point north of the Katzehin River delta.   A new ferry terminal at the end of the new highway would provide shuttle ferry service to Haines and Skagway using a three-vessel system."

http://dot.alaska.gov/sereg/projects/juneau_access/documents.shtml#feis

A highway between Juneau and Skagway could connect to AL-98 at Skagway and YK-2 to the Alaska Highway.
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