South Tongass Highway is on the schedule of the state Department of Transportation.

DOT provided an update on the South Tongass Highway Rehabilitation Project this week.

This project speaks to the highway just south of Deermount Avenue by the U.S. Coast Guard base to the intersection with Surf Street just southeast of the City of Saxman, which covers about 3 miles.

The design shows two 11-foot motor vehicle lanes and two 5-foot shoulders, along with a 5-foot buffer and an 8-foot path following the shoreline.

The path, which is called the Kee-Nax Coastal Trail in honor of Joseph C. Williams Sr., will connect with the path farther south.

Currently, the project is in the permitting and right-of-way acquisition phase. All of this is required to be complete before the federally funded project can be let for bid.

DOT also is looking at a construction schedule that must take into consideration the nesting and fledging season of eagles from May to August. Three eagle-nesting trees are located along the route, and the permits will restrict activity at Saxman Creek.

Construction is expected to start in 2023, provided that the permitting and right-of-way issues are resolved by then. If not, then the project start would be rescheduled for 2024, and the project could extend into 2025, particularly with finishing touches.

The South Tongass Highway has had improvements in recent years, including intermediate paving in the section included in the rehabilitation project.

These improved the surface and the safety of the highway, much to the satisfaction of the community.

But, the job isn’t done. It is underway — even if the progress isn’t immediately visible. In time, the heavy equipment will appear and the rebuild of South Tongass Highway’s most heavily used section will get underway.

It will take time and the patience of the community, but when it is done, it will have been worth waiting for. Just like the rebuilt section from Deermount Avenue to the tunnel is now.