Courtesy photo | Department of Transportation and Public Facilities                                 A section of logging road on Kupreanof Island. Sections of already constructed road would be connected with new ones to span the island.

Courtesy photo | Department of Transportation and Public Facilities A section of logging road on Kupreanof Island. Sections of already constructed road would be connected with new ones to span the island.

Kake road riles residents

Kake City Council member says community wasn’t consulted

A member of the Kake City Council is circulating a petition against a proposed road across Kuprenof Island from the city of Kake to a beach 12 miles north of Petersburg.

In addition to being against the road itself, Council member Marla Howard said the community has not been involved in the discussion of the road’s construction that is expected to cost $40 million.

“Villagers have not been included in the previous meetings. They never considered the village residents.” Howard said. She told the Empire she only found out Kake Mayor Lloyd Davis was supporting the road at the Alaska Municipal League Conference in Juneau in February.

“Last week, at Alaska Municipal League I found out our mayor was on the other team,” Howard said.

Davis could not immediately be reached for comment.

The road has been in the works for almost a decade. State Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, secured funding for the project as far back as 2012, but the project has yet to begin. There are a number of old logging roads that already exist on the island and the project would connect those roads to make a 35-mile, single-lane gravel road across the island.

Stedman previously told the Empire the road could help with infrastructure projects and emergency services between Kake and Petersburg. A proposed electrical interim project between the two towns has been on hold for several years because the project would be too expensive to complete without a road already built, according to Trey Acteson, CEO of Southeast Alaska Power Agency.

Howard, and other Kuprenof Island residents who previously spoke to the Empire about the issue say they would rather see the money for the road go toward the Alaska Marine Highway System. However, reallocating that money would take an act of the legislature according to Stedman, something which he believed had a dubious chance of success.

But Howard said she hasn’t found many supporters for the road within her community. She’s been going door to door collecting signatures against the project. When she spoke to the Empire Tuesday, she had 175 signatures against the road. Kake’s population was estimated at 563 in 2018 according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We have not even 20 people who want this road,” Howard said.

Howard opposes the road, but she is also upset at the way the issue has been handled, which she says was without the involvement of the community.

“People have not been heard or even considered to be invited to the table to discuss this,” Howard said. “I don’t like my people being blindsided.”

DOT spokesperson Sam Dapcevich said the department was currently negotiating with Kiewit Corporation and hoped to begin work during the 2020 construction season.

• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or

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