ON THE POST

Fun job titles belie serious work as Bob Bloussard, party chief for the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, surveys the Dyea Road with the assistance of Instrument Man George Cottrell. The road has been accepted as the recipient of a safety grant to straighten some of its curves and removal of some boulders. DL

Dyea road funded for safety work
Residents will have chance to comment

By DIMITRA LAVRAKAS

Sections of the Dyea Road may have its curves straightened and some large boulders blasted out, said Pat Kemp, preconstruction engineer for the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
“It’s part of a statewide pot of federal money for safety,” said Kemp. “We went out and nominated the Dyea Road and through the scoring process it came out really well.”
Kemp said DOT/PF received a little over $2 million for the project and that they’ll “keep going until we run out of money.”
Kemp said it was his idea to nominate the road and then sent a crew up from Juneau to look it over and write a report.
The project will go through an Environmental Assessment process, Kemp said. There will be a period of public comment and a public hearing, most likely in February or March, Kemp said.
The sections being looked at are Miles 4.3, 4.5-4.6, 4.8, 5.9, 6.0-6.2, 6.7, 7.0, 7.3-7.7, 7.9, and 8.1.
Paul Taylor, who is engineer for the project, said he talked to City Manager Bob Ward about it when it was first proposed, but Ward said it was not brought to the attention of the Skagway City Council, because the Council would be included in the review part of the process.
DOT/PF also applied for funding from the same source for the railroad crossings in town. But that request was turned down, in part because there hasn’t been any problems with the crossings, Kemp said. The department will continue to apply for funds for the crossing, he said, with the potential solution being either colored pavement surrounding the track in the middle of the road or a flashing railroad sign, but no barriers. White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad owns the tracks and that part of the road they cross, said Mike Lukshin, regional traffic manager for DOT/PF.
Lukshin said that for his department, dealing with railroad traffic is a new experience.
“It’s a new field for us, we’re not railroad experts,” he said by phone from Juneau.

Tank site remediation enters another phase
Land could be sold, says DEC

The former White Pass tank farm on the Klondike Highway is going through another phase of remediation with a spreading of 12-18-inch layer of soil on the site, said Ann Marie Palmieri, environmental specialist and project manager for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“They (Russel Metals) can sell it (the property) whenever they want,” Palmieri said. “If they wanted to make a deal with a potential buyer saying they would continue to maintain, a purchase could be made.”
But DEC would not release the company from the responsibility of remediating the biocell, she said. Everything else has been signed off on, she said.
“It doesn’t really matter who does the work as long as it gets done,” she said. “It took two summers to get down to the top of the cleanup level. So it’s two years for every 18 inches. You’re looking at six to eight years.”
Palmieri said the area on the same side of the road as Jewell Gardens can be built on.
Rumors have circulated through town that the property is in the process of being sold, but repeated calls to Russel Metals and its environmenal coordinator, Golder Associates, for comment have not been returned. - DL

Mayor puts in for Dyea disaster funds

Mayor Tim Bourcy put a request in this month to the state to declare the July 23 Dyea flood, a disaster. Bourcy asked for $190,000 to cover costs to shore up West Creek’s banks and redirect the creek into its original riverbed.
The cost breakdown is: TEMSCO helicopters, $5,073.95; July/Aug. employee wages and benefits, $2,688.63; Hunz & Hunz, $162,197.50; Pacific Contract (engineering work by Paul Taylor), $26,686; and September employee wages and benefits, $43.69 for a total of $192,689.77.
Kerre Fisher, spokesperson for the Alaska Division of Emergency Services, said the Disaster Policy Cabinet would meet this week, most likely Thursday, to make a decision on whether to grant the request. If it passes, it will go to Gov. Tony Knowles for final approval. With Knowles leaving office the first week of December, this could be one of his last official acts. - DL

Ballots out for Medical Corp. board of directors

Members of the Skagway Medical Corp. have received their ballots for the board of directors election. There are nine candidates for the seven seats: Frank Wasmer, Barbara Kalen, Candice Wallace, Bub Enloe, Doreen Cooper, Leslie Dodd, Jan Nelson, Bob Dill, and Karen Gee.
The ballots are due back at the clinic by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 29. The clinic will be closed Nov. 28 and 29, but ballots may be mailed (P.O. Box 537) in with “attention Ballot” on the envelope. The envelopes must be sealed and only one ballot is allowed per envelope. They will be counted and the winners announced at the Dec. 12 board meeting. –DL

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