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Newsletter updates:

  • External Stakeholder meeting in Anchorage on July 12th, 2018
  • $30 million is in the draft STIP released for Public Comment. Public comment period closes August 12th, 2018 at 5 pm. More information here: http://dot.alaska.gov/stwdplng/cip/stip/index.shtml
  • USACE Permit Received in July 2018
  • ASRC selected as the CMGC Contractor for the Kivalina Road Project. The team is working hard to mobilize by Fall 2018.
  • Title 16 Permit Received in June 2018

Background

The community of Kivalina has been working for decades with a variety of local, state, and federal agencies to address threats of coastal erosion and flooding. Numerous study, concept, and planning documents exist on potential solutions, which range from erosion protection around a portion of the barrier island to relocation of the entire community at a new mainland site. Issues surrounding community relocation have been challenging to overcome, as they are neither culturally preferable nor fiscally practicable in the foreseeable future. Consequently, Kivalina proposes to develop a safe, reliable, and direct means of temporary community evacuation to an acceptable mainland location on K-Hill.

Project Location

The proposed project origin is at the City of Kivalina, located on the southeast tip of the barrier island located between the Chukchi Sea (Arctic Ocean) and Kivalina Lagoon (Figure 1). The project terminus is located on the mainland across the Kivalina Lagoon approximately six miles northeast at a community selected evacuation site on Kisimigiuqtuq Hill (K-Hill). The Study Area encompasses the Kivalina barrier island, the southern portion of Kivalina Lagoon, and the lower Wulik and Kivalina River drainages.

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Purpose

The Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road project would provide Kivalina residents a safe and reliable evacuation route in the event of a catastrophic storm or ocean surge, allowing evacuees to temporarily mobilize to safe refuge at an assembly site on K-Hill. This site is also identified by the Northwest Arctic Borough School District, and approved by the community, as a preferred new location for the community school. If constructed, the school could augment the undeveloped evacuation site by serving as a full-service community emergency shelter with all-season support capabilities.

Need

Recent climate data has indicated that arctic sea ice is forming later in the season, increasing fall and winter storm duration and intensity along the Northwest Arctic coast (Simmonds and Keay 2009; Screen et al. 2013). Consequently, residents of Kivalina face significant and increasing risks to life, health, and safety by storm systems predicted to further intensify over time (Brubaker et al. 2010). The need for a concerted effort to mitigate these risks became more evident during an evacuation event in October 2007, when debris-laden storm waves overtopped the barrier island. The event resulted in the need for helicopters to carry evacuees off the island, and illustrated that Kivalina currently has no safe method of evacuation in the event of a catastrophic storm surge. In the face of this increased threat, Kivalina needs a safe and reliable means of evacuation.

Proposed Action

The Proposed Action would construct a safe, reliable, all-season evacuation road between the community of Kivalina and K-Hill. A range of route alternatives are being considered (discussed further in Section 3), but common to all are the following actions:

  • Establishment of a safe, reliable, all-season Kivalina Lagoon crossing. All alternatives include construction of a causeway across the lagoon that variously incorporate different configurations of hydrological openings including bridge(s), culvert(s), or both;
  • Construction of an all-season access road connecting the Kivalina Lagoon crossing to the K-Hill evacuation site. The road would be designed to accommodate a wide variety of motorized vehicles over a two-way road with shoulders, multiple turnouts, and side slopes that may include guardrail and other safety features (e.g. signage) where determined to be necessary and prudent; and
  • Development of up to four material sources including the K-Hill Site, Wulik River Source 1, Relic Channel Source 1, and Relic Channel Source 2. These material sources are anticipated to be suitable local sources of select material to supply the project. Selection and development of viable material sources and haul routes are considered as part of the Proposed Action.

Update 1/19/2018 -The FONSI (Finding of No Significant Impact) was received on January 19th, 2017 for the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road.

A FONSI determines that the Final Environmental Assessment: 1) has been determined to be complete; 2) the document meets FHWA NEPA requirements (23 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR]771) and all other applicable federal and state environmental requirements; 3) all public participation has been completed; 4) all consultation and coordination required through this state of project development has been completed and appropriately documented. 

Check this out for more information.

Update 11/14/2017 - The draft Environmental Assessment is available for public review!

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) in partnership with the Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB), the Community of Kivalina, NANA Regional Corporation (NANA), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), announces the availability of the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road project in Kivalina, Alaska for public review.

The project team proposes to construct a combined causeway and bridge facility across Kivalina Lagoon and associated all-season gravel access road from the lagoon eastern shoreline eastward to a community-selected evacuation site near Kisimigiuqtuq Hill (K-Hill). Up to four local material sites would also be developed to supply project requirements. The proposed project would provide Kivalina residents a safe and reliable evacuation route in the event of a catastrophic storm or ocean surge, allowing evacuees to temporarily mobilize to safe refuge at an assembly site on K-Hill also identified by the Northwest Arctic Borough School District as a preferred new location for the community school. The Draft EA addresses the proposed action and potential impacts to the natural and human environments.

The Draft EA is available via the project website listed below and also at the offices of the Northwest Arctic Borough (Kotzebue), the Native Village of Kivalina (Kivalina), the City of Kivalina (Kivalina), the Native Village of Noatak (Noatak), NANA Corporation (Anchorage and Kotzebue), and at the Red Dog Mine library.

Formal written comments can be made until 12/15/2017 either via the DOT&PF project website at: http://dot.alaska.gov/nreg/KivalinaEvacRd/, or directly to the project manager by U.S. mail or email as noted below. For more information or to provide written comments, please contact: Jonathan J. Hutchinson, P.E., Engineering Manager, AK DOT&PF. Jonathan.hutchinson@alaska.gov 907-451-5479

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Update 10/16/2017 - ADOT&PF applied for U.S. DOT TIGER 9 Funding on October 16, 2017.

The grant application and be found HERE.

Update 05/2017 - Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road Project Newsletter

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Update 04/2017 - Stantec hired to lead NEPA work for the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road

In April 2017, a competitive proposal by the engineering and environmental consultant Stantec received the highest score for contract work to complete the NEPA work for the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road Project. Stantec is currently finalizing a contract with the DOT&PF and work is expected to begin June 1, 2017.

Update 04/2017 - Remote Solutions, LLC contracted to provide community support, outreach and logistics coordination

Remote Solutions, LLC was contracted through a competitive process by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) to provide community support, public outreach, and logistics coordination for DOT&PF Northern Region projects as needed, including the current Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road Project.

Update 2/17/17 - Environmental Review Submitted

The Alaska Department of Transportation received the Environmental Review for the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road. The Environmental Review was submitted and prepared by Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.

Please review the document here: Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road Environmental Review

Update: 12/9/2016 - Public and Agency Comment Period Closes December 12th.

The Alaska Department of Transportation is current soliciting input on the Kivalina Evacuation and School Site Access Road. For questions or comments, please contact:
Sarah Schacher, P.E.; Engineering Manager. Northern Region ADOT PF. 2301 Peger Rd Fairbanks, AK 99709-5316
(907) 451-5361 sarah.schacher@alaska.gov To correspond by text telephone (TDD) (907) 451-2363

Update: 12/1/2016 - Alaska Department of Transportation Project Kivalina Road Website is Now Live

Please review the website here: http://dot.alaska.gov/nreg/KivalinaEvacRd/

Update: 11/1/2016 - Attention All Interested Kivalina Road Stakeholders. Please attend your local public meeting!

Please attend the following public meetings in Kivalina, Noatak, and Kotzebue coming up on November 15th and November 16th. Online comments can be made online shortly. Stay tuned.

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UPDATE: 9/23/2016 - STIP Amendment #1 has now been officially approved by Federal Highways

This is one step closer to making the Kivalina Road and new school a reality thanks to all the hard work of those involved.

UPDATE: 9/21/2016 - LiDAR Work for the Project Area is Now Complete

McClintock Land and Associates spent about 10 days capturing ground survey and LiDAR data. LiDAR is a surveying method that measures distance to a target by illuminating that target with a laser light. This information will create an accurate surface model that engineers can ultimately use for the design work. Right now it will be used to help gather information for the NEPA process.

UPDATE: 9/17/2016 - Biologist and Archaeologist visit Kivalina

As part of the early scoping process for a road project it is critical to ensure minimal impact on the resources in the project area. Specialists from Stantec spent four days in the field walking around the entire project area with a focus on all the possible routes to the new school site.  Their report will be used when going through the NEPA process in the next year. They LOVED the hospitality of Kivalina.

UPDATE: 9/15/2016 - Rhea Barger, Communications Specialist hired in Kivalina

In Kivalina, Rhea Barger works in an office at the IRA building so stop by and visit with Rhea to learn about where the road project is at.

UPDATE: 8/25/2016 - RFP Released for September Survey Work in Kivalina

Remote Solutions has released an RFP for LiDAR and Bathymetry work that needs to be completed by the end of September 2016.  This RFP has been forwarded to those companies with existing term agreements with DOT and any interested companies should email Ron@akremotesolutions.com for more information.

UPDATE: 8/25/2016 - RS Now Hiring Communication Specialist

Remote Solutions has released a job posting for a Kivalina based Communication Specialist to help coordinate logistics of the Road Project on the ground in Kivalina. Interested applications should email katherine@akremotesolutions.com or call 907-412-2882. Job Posting can be downloaded here. Application can be downloaded here.

UPDATE: 8/23/2016 - Remote Solutions as Project Coordinator

The Northwest Arctic Borough has retained Remote Solutions, LLC , a Kotzebue based consulting firm, as a project coordinator for pre-construction and construction activities related to the Kivalina Evacuation and School Access Road.

UPDATE: 8/6/2016 - NWAB and DOT MOA Now Signed

The Northwest Arctic Borough has signed an Memorandum of Agreement with the State of Alaska Department of Transportation for partnering on the pre-construction activities related to the Kivalina Evacuation and School Access Road and the $3,297,791 in Federal Highways Funding.

UPDATE: 7/13/2016 - STIP Amendment #1 with $3,297,791 for Design and Environmental Work

As of 7/13/16 the 2016-2019 Alaska Statewide Transportation Improvement Program Amendment #1 was released for public comment through August 27th. Alaska’s STIP outlines a four-year program of partial or fully-funded federal projects and preservation efforts for the state’s transportation system, including Interstate and state highways, bridges, public transportation and ferries. It includes $3,297,791 for the Design and Environmental Work for the Kivalina Evacuation and School Access Road Project available in this fiscal year!

“For many of those Alaskans, it’s no longer a question of if they are going to relocate, but when. Think about that. If another country tried to do wipe out an entire town, we’d do everything in our power to protect it. ~President Barack Obama ”

Relevant Planning Documents

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Kivalina has had significant amount of planning documents created that pertain to the need for the Kivalina Road. Historical documents related to the road construction can also be found here.

Kivalina has had significant amount of planning documents created that pertain to the need for the Kivalina Road. Historical documents related to the road construction can also be found here.

Engineering and Environmental

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Significant Engineering and Environmental work is now complete. Documents can be found here.

Collaboration

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Multiple organizations regularly meet to discuss project updates and are involved in project development. Including the Native Village of Kivalina, City of Kivalina, the Northwest Arctic Borough, Department of Transportation, Remote Solutions, NANA Regional Corporation, Army Corps of Engineers,and others. A breakdown of roles and responsibilities can be found here.