News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Stedman
For Immediate Release: August 24, 2020

Gravina Access Improvements Work to Begin, Final Bids Awarded

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KETCHIKAN – Work will soon begin on a host of projects meant to enhance the movement of people and goods between Ketchikan and Gravina Island.

The project will not only provide improved access to the airport, but will improve access to developable land on Gravina, promoting long-term economic development of the island. 

“I am happy to see all of the bids awarded and progress made towards making access to Gravina easier and more convenient,” Senator Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, said. “I would like to thank Governor Mike Dunleavy and Commissioner John MacKinnon for moving this project forward. Ketchikan’s economy can really use this $100 million project infusion over the next few years.”

Sen. Stedman has worked doggedly with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Legislature over the years to keep this project on the radar and ensure that the residual original bridge money is used and that there is enough money available to make better access to Gravina Island a reality. 

Some benefits of the Gravina Access Project will be to:

  • Provide residents more reliable, efficient, and convenient access to Borough and other state and developable or recreational lands;
  • Improve the convenience and reliability of access to the Airport for passengers, airport tenants, emergency personnel and equipment, and shipment of freight; and
  • Promote planned long-term economic development and tax-based expansion of Gravina.

The total project is estimated to cost $106 million and feature:

  • Reconstruction of existing airport ferry berths to meet current design standards;
  • Upgrades and improvements to pedestrian facilities at both terminals;
  • A new heavy freight mooring facility and new ferry layup dock on Gravina Island;
  • New ferry berths on both Gravina and Revilla;
  • Terminal upland improvements on Revilla;
  • Shuttle vans to carry pedestrians and their luggage to/from the airport;  
  • New toll facilities; and
  • The replacement of the bridge over the Airport Creek and reconstruction of Seley Road from Lewis Reef Road to approximately the end of the Airport Reserve.

HISTORY: Better access to Gravina Island has been a local goal since before the airport was constructed in the early 1970s. Starting in the mid-‘90s, Congress started earmarking money for the project. Pacific Pile and Marine was just awarded the remaining outstanding project bid for $17.8 million for work on the layup berth and freight facility, and will be employing several local subcontractors.

Work on the project will start fall 2020. DOT officials estimate the project will be completed by 2023.

“The community has been working for better access to Gravina for generations,” Sen. Stedman said. “This project couldn’t have come at a better time.”

For more information contact: Mollie Barnes, mollie.barnes@akleg.gov, 907-465-1729.

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