Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Look at Woodside cost per mile


I can’t help but reflect on two contrasting events that have had such an impact on society over the last 70 years. 

Nearing completion, the Woodside Boulevard project will cost $5.26 million dollars, assisted by $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation paid to Knife River out of Boise. 

This 2.44-mile section of road will cost $2.16 million per mile and will have taken more than five months to build. With improvements to safety and appearance, it will also include a roundabout, sidewalks and eight new bus shelters.

Beginning in May most of the boulevard asphalt was removed and barricades put in place to prevent access. The north end was completed first to minimize its impact on that part of the community at the expense of the remaining Woodside residents.

In contrast, the U.S. Corp of Engineers began construction of the Alaska/Canadian Highway March 8, 1942, as a supply route during World War II. 

Construction of the 1,422 miles of highway cost $138 million, or $97,046 per mile. Built over some of the roughest terrain in North America and in some of the harshest weather conditions, it included numerous bridges over 200 rivers and took eight months and 11 days to complete. 

As a result, the impact on Alaska’s future economy was enormous. If this highway were built today, it would have cost approximately $2 million per mile, adjusted for inflation. Of course, there were no sidewalks or bus stops to build.

This contrast should create many questions around value received, construction efficiency and which community will actually reap the monetary rewards from the $5.26 million spent on Woodside Boulevard. 

Bill Rae

Fritz Creek, Alaska

 




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