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Executive Summary
The community of Ouzinkie identified transportation access as its first strategy in supporting long term sustainable economic development. Specifically, marine and air transportation improvements would support a decrease in the cost of living and business by achieving increased passenger and shipping efficiencies. These transportation improvements would also support planned economic development through improved access to Ouzinkie.
Ouzinkie’s unique geographic location north of Kodiak Island on the current Alaska Marine Highway Ferry route along with its prime access to the fisheries of Marmot Bay provide opportunities that are currently not utilized due to insufficient transportation infrastructure that supports larger vessels and a fishing charter fleet. The following transportation strategies and priorities reflect Ouzinkie’s commitment to building infrastructure that will allow its residents to fully participate in both commercial fishing and tourism opportunities while fostering interagency collaboration.
Background for Planning Dock and Bulkhead
The current dock was built in 1964 immediately after the tsunamis generated by the Great Alaska Earthquake destroyed the Ouzinkie waterfront. This 40 plus year old facility is an old, creosote platform dock built out of pilings. It requires significant maintenance every year due to Ouzinkie’s severe maritime climate. Recreosoting of pilings and redecking of the dock platform are annual maintenance requirements. The dock itself is approximately 200 feet from Ouzinkie’s waterfront. Access is via a very narrow platform built on creosote pilings wide enough to accommodate a passenger pick up truck. Larger equipment must be offloaded via landing barge directly onto the Ouzinkie beach. The dock has one small crane that does not accommodate larger loads. The dock does not extend out enough to accommodate the deeper waters required by larger vessels such as the Alaska State Marine Highway System’s ocean going ferries. In summary, the current dock is old, inadequate, dangerous, and will not support long term sustainable waterfront development and marine access for Ouzinkie.
SIDCO, supported by the Ouzinkie Native Corporation, began preliminary planning efforts towards the design of a new dock. Community meetings were held to receive input as to what economic development opportunities a new dock would present. Specifically, it was seen that a new dock would significantly lower the cost of living and provide economic development opportunities to Ouzinkie through:
  1. Provide a marine transportation facility for the Alaska Marine Highway System’s passenger and vehicle service with connections to the Alaska mainland.
  2. Provide a marine transportation facility that would accommodate shipping for larger consumer goods that currently are brought in via expensive landing craft.
  3. Support access for shore-side tourism development.
  4. Support access for the development of a local fish processing facility.
  5. Provide an alternative port for the United States Coast Guard (i.e. homeland security proposes) and for Unites States Navy Seal Base on Kodiak (i.e. staging area for local training exercises).
It was these discussions that spurred the community towards developing its economic development plan. Funding was received through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Native Americans Strategies for Economic Development Program and work began on this Economic Development Plan in the Fall of 2005.
Ouzinkie Native Corporation continued its support towards the preliminary design of a new dock and lobbying for funding. The firm of Peratrovich, Nottingham and Drage was engaged to review the existing dock and provide suggestions for a new dock design. Dennis Nottingham, the engineer who pioneered the design and use of open cell bulkheads and docks provided a preliminary design that would create a low-maintenance facility with access to deeper water and an additional 3 acres of usable industrial waterfront acreage. In 2006, Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive Officer of the Ouzinkie Native Corporation, with the support of Alaska State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux, successfully secured $570,000 through the State of Alaska for full engineering and design of the project. It was anticipated that monies would be received in Ouzinkie from the State by the summer of 2007.

Small Boat Harbor
The small boat harbor includes a breakwater with berths for approximately 20 small vessels. Use of this facility is limited to commercial fishermen, skiff owners and tourism charters. There is no road access to the vehicle parking area or the small boat harbor and access is limited to a narrow wooden boardwalk from the hill above. Freight and goods must be carried by wheelbarrow up approximately 1/4 mile of wooden ramp access which in winter is often iced over and slippery There is no handicap access to the small boat harbor. The inability to load and unload from the small boat harbor to road access severely restricts its use in support of economic development activities such as sports fishing and tourism.

Air access
As work proceeded on this Economic Development Plan, it became clear that the current airstrip and roads will also not support envisioned community economic development. Specifically, the State of Alaska owned 2,085 gravel airstrip constructed in the early 1980’s is unattended, requires visual inspection for use, and does not meet current Federal Aviation Administration standards. Additionally, the runway is too short to accommodate larger aircraft, and its directional orientation makes it hazardous during periods of high winds. The airport does not meet minimum safety standards as it has no runway lights. Also, the current location of the airport impedes community growth as it is too close to both the landfill and the hydro-electric plant.
Alaska rural communities' airports are a primary state interest for the State of Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT). There is a separate fund pool and a separate ranking criteria system within DOT to ensure progress towards a systematic approach to development of air access in rural Alaska. This system includes:
  1. All rural community runways will be upgraded to 3,300 feet to meet the new aircraft fleet that is coming online throughout Alaska
  2. 3,300 foot runways will be used in areas in proximity to regional hubs and/or where small populations do not meet demand for larger twin-engine turbine aircraft
  3. A 4,400 foot runway is used when larger aircraft are running longer routes, and when air transport is the primary fuel and freight delivery system
Construction in 2008 is planned for a new 3,300 foot long by 75 foot wide runway with an adjoining 150 foot runway safety area, a staging apron and an aviation support area located approximately 1.7 miles north of Ouzinkie in Balika Basin. The proposed airport access road will be constructed from the existing airport near the north end of town to the new airport location.
This project will provide the opportunity for tremendous cost-savings for other local roads projects that would otherwise not be practical from a construction mobilization standpoint.

Roads
Road improvements would include road shaping and crowning, drainage and culvert improvements, chip seal surfacing and dust control. The road system is limited to a few miles of gravel roads and paths that create a high health hazard in the dryer summer months due to dust. Ouzinkie’s soils contain a high level of volcanic ash from the Mt. Katmai (Novarupta) volcanic eruption of 1906. This results in a high level of silicon particulate matter in the air when roads are dry and dust is raised.
Recent construction of the replacement sewer project in the village has required digging up the village streets, causing damage that is not restorable under the constraints of the village sewer and water project budget. The net effect is excess wear and damage to not only the village utility vehicles such as the dump truck, electric utility vehicles, fire and ambulance services, but to the vehicles utilized by residents in the normal pursuit of personal or vocational business. Several instances have been documented of not only individual vehicles having cracked or broken frames, but also the heavy equipment such as the dump truck used for the sewer project having a broken frame. Repair of this item requires sending the equipment out of the village on landing craft at considerable expense for repair. Individual residents can only afford to absorb their own personal losses.
Historically, transportation facilities such as roads are the responsibility of the 2 nd class cities, such as Ouzinkie. However, the City of Ouzinkie has not had funding available for road improvements and repairs since original construction in the 1970’s due to continued decrease in State of Alaska support of small, rural communities. Current road planning, maintenance and future construction is performed by the Native Village of Ouzinkie through designated tribal roads programs. Generally, repairing local existing roads will rise to the top of the list, with long-range economic development projects and new construction coming in lower in the ranking. This is generally the case for two reasons. One is local roads can be upgraded for a reasonable cost through joint funding opportunities at the local, state, tribal and federal levels. Local needs, where safety is an immediate issue rank high in most project selection processes. Further, the new Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Shares System has the ability to assign 25% of the annual tribal shares funds on maintenance. Suddenly, small communities across the state are able to sign needed maintenance agreements to get projects in their villages. This is an exceptional step forward for collaborating with other local, state, and federal transportation funding agencies.

Rock and Gravel
All transportation projects will require rock and gravel for base and fill. In order to achieve economies of scales on the larger projects such as the construction of an open-cell bulkhead or the planned airport access road, Ouzinkie must prepare to access rock and gravel in sufficient amounts to stockpile for other projects. This will require locating sources that are available to Ouzinkie and acquiring the appropriate permits to access these sources. As well, gravel should be stockpiled to provide availability for all projects that require gravel and fill.

Community Planning Process
The Community had two three-day work sessions to first gain understanding of the political and agency funding process at the federal and state levels, and then to work through and prioritize transportation capital projects that would support long term economic sustainability and growth in Ouzinkie. Mr. Mike McKinnon supported and assisted these discussions. Mike worked for 25 years as a transportation planner for the State of Alaska. He currently provides transportation planning services through his consulting firm, McKinnon and Associates. Mike’s report to the community is included here as Appendix A. Ouzinkie also participated in the development of the Kodiak Archipelago’s Rural Regional Leadership Forum’s Regional Transportation Plan. This Plan is currently asking for a feasibility study for a regional Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System.

Strategies and Planning
The following strategies were developed by the community and served to guide the creation of transportation capital project priorities.
  1. Development of transportation infrastructure is approached as a collaborative effort between the City of Ouzinkie, the Native Village of Ouzinkie, the Ouzinkie Native Corporation, and SIDCO.
  2. Community priorities will be reflected in the City of Ouzinkie’s Capital Improvement Project List, the Kodiak Island Borough Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, and the Native Village of Ouzinkie’s Capital Projects List.
  3. Ouzinkie’s transportation infrastructure will be designed to fully support passenger and freight access to Ouzinkie.
  4. Marine and air services are designed to reinforce each other in providing overall, reliable transportation services.
  5. Marine and Air services utilize the City of Kodiak as its regional hub.
  6. Marine transport is currently limited by the size of the dock and the lack of road access to the small boat harbor. Marine infrastructure should be designed to support larger freight hauls and reliable, regular passenger service to and from the Alaska mainland.
  7. Air transport is convenient and fast, but weather often causes interrupted service. Freight haul by air is limited to size of airstrip. Air infrastructure should be designed to support expedited freight hauls and regular passenger service to and from the regional hub of Kodiak.
  8. For economies of scale, long-term airstrip infrastructure will be planned to support appropriate passenger service for planned tourism development and for the shipping of processed fish directly between Ouzinkie and Anchorage.
  9. All transportation projects will be coordinated to efficiently develop necessary construction resources such as gravel and take advantage of construction mobilization.
  10. All projects will maximize the hiring of Ouzinkie residents. Ouzinkie will work with educational agencies such as Kodiak College to have workforce readiness for all capital projects.
  11. Ouzinkie supports and participates in the Kodiak Archipelago Rural Regional Transportation Plan.
Community Developed Prioritized Transportation Capital Improvement Projects
1. Replacement Bulkhead and Dock Design. $570,000
The Ouzinkie dock engineering design project was funded in 2006 and slated to begin the summer of 2007. The design will be created to support the larger freight vessels previously discussed and the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry system and will include securing all necessary permits required for bulkhead construction.
2. Replacement Dock Construction. $5,200,000
Construction costs are estimated on the preliminary designed presented below. Construction will create additional usable staging area and industrial use acreage to support waterfront development associated with fisheries. Maintenance costs will be significantly lower than the existing piling dock as there is no wood contained in the construction. Fill material will be obtained from the adjoining hillside and local gravel quarry. It is estimated that construction will provide seasonal jobs to Ouzinkie residents as heavy equipment operators.

Roads Projects
1. Small Boat Harbor to Dock Access Road Design. $350,000
This planned road would replace the current pedestrian boardwalk from the waterfront area and the dock facility to the small boat harbor with a road. The initial estimated amount is for reconnaissance engineering to conduct preliminary surveying, geo technical and soils investigations, design standards and an environmental overview and develop a detailed design and construction cost estimate. Development of this access road would enhance economic development in support of commercial fishing, tourism and increased ability to transport fuel and consumer goods.
2. Harbor Parking and Access Road $50,000
This access road would replace the steep, wooden walkway from the current parking area with a road to the boat harbor. This would extend the current gravel road by 100 feet and include a small turnaround area for vehicles. Estimate is for actual construction of the road extension and is currently being planned for construction in 2007 with Bureau of Indian Affairs road monies.
3. Local Roads Repairs and Improvements. $3,475,000
Road improvements and repairs would include road shaping and crowning, drainage and culvert improvements, chip seal surfacing and dust control. These improvements would improve vehicle and pedestrian safety and eliminate potholes.
4. Hydro-electric Road Repair $150,000
The present road to the hydroelectric station is currently limited to ATV machinery. Mud, snow, and other conditions make access impassable at times. It is anticipated that ozone treatment will be sited at the hydro-station and will entail daily monitoring of equipment. The need is to gravel surface the road making it suitable for four-wheel drive sized equipment.

Air Transportation
1. New Airport Construction.
2. New Airport Access Road Construction.
Construction costs are for the new airport and access road as engineered by the State of Alaska Department of Transportation. No amounts are given as the Ouzinkie airport is part of the regular program of airport construction discussed above. Construction is planned by the State of Alaska to begin in 2008. However, Ouzinkie should coordinate the planned airport construction with other road projects such as the Harbor Access and Parking road as well as the location and stockpiling of rock and gravel.

Anticipated Economic Impact
Short Term:
  1. Local construction employment.
  2. Local housing of non-residents.
Long Term:
  1. Marine access that supports passenger and freight service from the Alaska Mainland, reducing significantly the cost of living in Ouzinkie.
  2. Marine access that supports increased tourism activity.
  3. Road improvements that eliminates the current health hazard presented by road dust.
  4. Road improvements that allow vehicular access to the small boat harbor and the hydro-electrical facility.
  5. Road improvements that allow direct access from the dock area to the small boat harbor.
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P.O. Box 113 - Ouzinkie, AK 99644 - (907) 680-2300 - Email: