The State of Alaska’s Department of Transportation recently released its proposed ammendments to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, and it’s good to see Ketchikan projects continuing to be on the list for upcoming construction.

Three of those projects are within or include portions within the City of Saxman.

These include:

• The approximately $3.4 million Sayles/Gorge Street Viaduct Improvement project, which is scheduled for construction during federal fiscal year 2022 (Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022.

•  The approximately $6.9 million Tongass Avenue improvements project between Hoadley Creek Bridge and the Tongass Avenue Viaduct in the vicinity of Elliott Street, scheduled for construction in FFY 2022.

•  The approximately $30 million S. Tongass Highway improvement projects from Deermount Street to Saxman, also presently scheduled for construction in FFY 2022, according to the City of Ketchikan.

Other projects that are noted in the proposed STIP amendment include the approximately $16.37 million Herring Cove Bridge replacement project, for which the STIP amendment shows construction funding in the current federal fiscal year; and the approximately $13.2 million South Tongass Highway improvements, Saxman to Surf Street reconstruction project, for which the STIP amendment shows construction funding in FFY 2023.

Each of these projects have been “in the works” for periods of time. We’re pleased that they remain on the projects list, and are scheduled for construction in the near future.

There’s no doubt that Ketchikan benefits from up-to-date transportation infrastructure.

One recent example are the Front-Mill-Stedman streets project that reconstructed the roadway and expanded the main sidewalks of the main thoroughfare downtown. Another example is the project that replaced the rickety wood bridges across first and second waterfall creeks. And, of course, the major project that’s now underway is the various components of the Gravina Access project.

In addition to enhancing local transportation over the long term, these projects assist Ketchikan’s economy in the near term.

It’s a win-win all around, and we appreciate the state and federal support in making these projects possible.