Knik Arm Crossing Recieves Long Awaited Record of Decision (ROD) Project Pushes On.
KABATA ANNOUNCES RECEIPT OF THE RECORD OF DECISION FOR THE KNIK ARM CROSSING PROJECT - Federal Highways Administration Signs Record of Decision
(Anchorage, AK), December 15, 2010: The Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) announced today that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has signed the Record of Decision (ROD) for the Knik Arm Crossing project. The approval of the ROD by FHWA allows KABATA to move forward with the permitting, right-of-way acquisition, final design, financing and construction of the project. During the final design, KABATA will continue efforts to minimize any impacts that adversely affect social, economic, cultural and natural resources.
"This is great news for Alaskans," said KABATA executive director, Andrew Niemiec. "The project has reached a major milestone with the signing of the ROD. We are now able to proceed forward with a project that is a reality rather than the dream it has been for decades."
Because the project is a toll facility, the revenues collected fund the construction, operations, maintenance and financing of the project. The toll platform also has the unique advantage of potentially contributing to a transportation fund for Alaska’s critical infrastructure needs.
KABATA Board chairman, Michael Foster stated, "Delivering this project in the most beneficial manner to the State will remain at the forefront. The project also embraces the added benefits of regional connectivity between our ports, highways and access to natural resources, which are critical components that drive economic development and jobs in our State."
FHWA states in the ROD, "Based on the analysis and evaluation contained in this project’s Final EIS and after careful consideration of all social, economic, and environmental factors and input from State and local governments, Tribes, and the public, it is my decision that the Northern Access – Erickson Alternative (with the Southern Alignment, 8,200-foot bridge length, cut-and-cover tunnel under Erickson Street) is hereby the Selected Alternative for the KAC project."
The Knik Arm Crossing Project is being developed to meet the current and projected transportation needs of the Municipality of Anchorage and the Mat-Su Borough. KABATA’s goal is to construct a cost-affordable, vehicular toll bridge of about 2.7 miles across Knik Arm to join the Port of Anchorage area and Port MacKenzie area, as well as 19 miles of road to support the bridge's accessibility. The purpose of this project is to build a bridge to fulfill the following needs:
- An efficient link between the operations and infrastructure of the two ports;
- An alternate north-south emergency response and disaster evacuation route;
- Transportation infrastructure for existing and projected population and economic growth; and
- Implementing the Alaska legislative mandate.
The Alaska Legislature established the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority in 2003 under Alaska Statute 19.75 to "develop, stimulate, and advance the economic welfare of the state and further the development of public transportation systems in the vicinity of Upper Cook Inlet with construction of a bridge to span Knik Arm and connect the Municipality of Anchorage and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough." Additional information about KABATA and the Knik Arm Crossing Project can be found on KABATA’s website at www.knikarmbridge.com.