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Alaska Beat

Skip 'bridge to nowhere' and try a tunnel, Frank Murkowski suggests

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published June 18, 2012

The Associated Press reports that former Gov. Frank Murkowski is recommending Ketchikan build an underwater tunnel to its airport on Gravina Island. Murkowski believes there is little chance of building a bridge to the island, a project that has been infamously labeled the "bridge to nowhere".

Murkowski's comments come as the Alaska Department of Transportation is wrapping up an environmental review that will determine the most economic alternative for access between islands, the AP reports. Bridges and ferries are both options.

Murkowski believes the Ketchikan Shipyard could help build tunnel sections to be lowered into a trench on the floor of the Tongass Narrows. "The main advantage of an immersed tube is that they can be considerably more cost effective," he said.

Murkowski had approved a bridge to Gravina Island in 2007, to the tune of $330 million. Murkowski's successor, Sarah Palin, shifted money away from the project as the need for construction funds in the Palmer-Wasilla area became apparent, Murkowski said.

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