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Map: Palin Admin. Oversaw $26 Million ROAD to ‘Nowhere’

Map: Palin Admin. Oversaw $26 Million ROAD to 'Nowhere'

September 17, 2008 6:00 pm EDT

Since her nomination as the Republican vice presidential candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin has stressed her reform credentials, singling out her handling of the “Bridge to Nowhere” as evidence.

However, a ProPublica investigation finds that her administration, rather than return the earmarked funds, continued the construction of a $26 million gravel road that leads to the canceled bridge site.

Rollover the boxes below to see the original "Nowhere" plan and the proposed alternatives.


Source: Alaska Department of Transportation

Rollover boxes for details

  • "Road to Nowhere"

    Though the original Gravina Island Bridge was nixed, millions of dollars were still earmarked for a 3.2 mile gravel road – a.k.a. the Gravina Island Highway – to the nonexistent bridge.

    Palin's predecessor, Gov. Frank Murkowski, awarded a contract for the dead-end road (marked in red) on Dec. 1, 2006, days before Palin took office. Palin allowed the construction of the Gravina Island Highway to go forward, even though government watchdogs urged her to cancel it.

    (rollover to see)
    Cost: $26 million
  • The Original "Bridge to Nowhere"

    The $398 million Gravina Island Bridge – a.k.a. the "Bridge to Nowhere" – was intended to replace a ferry that connected Ketchikan to its airport on Gravina Island in Alaska.

    Palin supported the $398 million bridge project during her campaign for governor in 2006, but concluded in her first year in office that Alaska would never be able to win the funds needed to complete it (PDF).

    (rollover to see)
    Cost: $398 million
  • Alternative Proposals

    As ProPublica reported last week, Palin’s administration is still planning to link Ketchikan (pop. 7,400) to its airport with the help of as much as $73 million in federal funds earmarked by Congress for the original “Bridge to Nowhere” project.

    Alaska’s Department of Transportation is currently analyzing nine different alternatives: six bridges and three ferries (see PDF here).

    Only one of the alternatives to the rejected $398 million design actually uses a substantial portion of the newly built access road: a bridge with a $254 million price tag.

    (rollover to see)
    Cost: $80-$250 million