Looking towards future plans to build a port, the City of Kotzebue has secured the funds to begin building the Cape Blossom Road.
“The rights, wetland mitigation, no significant impacts statements, funding… have always been major obstacles, and, of course, those take time to really orchestrate,” says Patrick Savok, Northwest Borough Chief of Staff.
After nearly 30 years of discussion, the City, in collaboration with the Northwest Arctic Borough and other Kotzebue entities, has made a solid, conclusive plan to build the road, which has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration and State Department of Transportation.
The two-lane, all-season road would stretch from Kotzebue to Cape Blossom, an area located 11.6 miles south on the Baldwin Peninsula, and cost a speculative $49.2 million.
The road’s construction is only phase one for Kotzebue’s vision for Cape Blossom. Savok says building a regional port or subsistence harbor at the end of the road could make transportation of goods cheaper, but that is only part of the expensive process. “We still have to truck goods into that location into town. But the advent of that, it’s going to open up local jobs.”
For Savok, the creation of jobs makes the road a win.
And while funding for a second phase of construction for a subsistence harbor or port remains unsecured, Savok confirms that a memorandum of agreement for the maintenance and management of the road past Kotzebue city limits has been signed.
Construction of the Cape Blossom road will start this winter when an ice road can be made to Iggy Hill to extract gravel for the start of the road.
Updated 5/17/17: The article has been changed to reflect that the City of Kotzebue is the spearheading organization.