KODIAK — The Kodiak public will have a chance to help determine which transportation improvements will be the main focus of long-term state effort.

An almost 7-year-old plan for transportation projects in Southwest Alaska is in the process of being reviewed and updated, with public meetings anticipated in Kodiak sometime this fall.

The Southwest Transportation Plan is a blueprint of the region’s transportation future. It is created for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) as part of a statewide transportation plan and is an important component of federal funding of transportation projects, according the plan’s introduction section.

It lays out infrastructure improvement projects that affect the region’s roads, marine ports and airports.

A representative from DOWL HKM, which has been contracted to rewrite the transportation plan, said public meetings are being planned for King Salmon, Kodiak and Unalaska in October or November. Exact dates and times will be coordinated with local community leaders.

A first draft report from those public meetings is anticipated by spring 2012.

Mike Neussel, deputy commissioner for marine operations at DOT&PF, said the goals of the marine highway portion of the 2004 Southwest Transportation Plan have been accomplished.

“It’s time to look ahead, see what’s next and look at what the preferred alternatives are,” Neussel said.

The 2004 plan called for increased ferry service from Kodiak along the settlements on the Alaska Peninsula and to Dutch Harbor. This was accomplished, Neussel said, when the Tustumena was reallocated from service in Prince William Sound and began making two monthly trips down the Aleutian Chain for half the year.

However, another part of the transportation plan called for a new municipal dock to accommodate ferry service in Kodiak, a project that has been plagued by delays as alternatives were worked out and discarded. The project now finds itself underfunded, and instead of a new ferry service terminal, the project may be scaled down under the new plan to replace portions of Kodiak’s Pier 1.

Other projects listed in the old plan have also been built. These include road construction and paving to the Kodiak Launch Complex, the improvements in Kodiak’s downtown Y intersection, Selief Lane, Chiniak Highway and Otmeloi Way.

Mirror writer Wes Hanna can be reached via email at whanna@kodiakdailymirror.com

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