Deering AK Long-Range Transportation Plan

Deering IRA Council
2011-03-07
Bureau of Indian Affairs, Branch of Transportation

Long-Range Transportation Plan

Deering, Alaska

March 2011

Deering Community Vision: To conserve and improve our traditional way of life which allows us to continue our ancestral heritage while successfully adapting to change, and encourage our children to live our values and ways with respect for years to come.

DEERING

LONG RANGE TRANSPORTATION PLAN

SUBMITTED BY

DEERING IRA COUNCIL

P.O. BOX 36089 DEERING, ALASKA 99736 PHONE (907) 363-2138

FAX (907) 363-2195

Submitted to:

Bureau of Indian Affairs, Branch of Transportation

 P.O. Box 25520, Juneau, Alaska 99802-5520

Phone 1-800-645-8397, Press 4, Fax (907) 586-7357

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Acronyms and Abbreviations                                                                                             

ADEC

Alaska Department of Conservation

ADOT&PF

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities

AHFC

Alaska Housing and Financing Corporation

ANTHC

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

ATV

All Terrain Vehicle

BIA

Bureau of Indian Affairs

DCED

Department of Community and Economic Development

°F

Degrees Fahrenheit

FHWA

Federal Highways Administration

IRR

Indian Reservation Road

JATP

Juneau Area Transportation Plan

LRTP

Long-Range Transportation Plan

NAB

Northwest Arctic Borough

NABSD

Northwest Arctic Borough School District

NANA

Northwest Arctic Native Association

NIHA

Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority

ROW

Right-of-way

STIP

State Transportation Improvement Program

Community Resolution

Formula Placeholder

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Need for improvements: Deering is an active community of 133 people, including approximately 51 children. The residents regularly travel by boat, plane, four-wheelers, snow machine, and full-size trucks. The current transportation infrastructure is inadequate and limits the community from sustainable growth and development.

Recommendations: The Tribal Priority List for FY2011 includes the following transportation improvements (in descending order of priority):

Tribal Priority List for FY2011

  • Update IRR Inventory: Several existing and proposed transportation routes were inadvertently omitted from the latest IRR inventory. These routes are an essential part of the long-range transportation plan and will be submitted to the BIA Roads in March 2011.
    • New West Airport Road: This project will consist of constructing a new road from near the fuel tank farm to Deering Road in the vicinity of the airport. This road will provide an alternate egress route from the community in the event of an evacuation.
    • Improve Deering Road: Improve access to subsistence areas, historical mining areas, and a reindeer husbandry camp. This project will consist of repairing the roadway foundation and surface course of existing roads using local borrow material. This project will reduce dust and significantly improve the roadway surface during breakup and heavy rains. Drainage routes and culverts will be added or improved to provide better flow of surface waters. This route is approximately 28 miles in length.
    • Improve Cape Deceit Road: This project will result in improved grading and drainage along Deering’s primary corridor. Cape Deceit Road provides access to all of the community including access to all homes, public facilities, and businesses. The route also provides access to the fuel tank farm, landfill, cemetery, native allotment, and nearby beach for wood gathering. This project will consist of repairing the roadway foundation and surface course of the existing road using local material. This project will reduce dust and significantly improve the roadway surface during breakup and heavy rains. Drainage routes and culverts will be added or improved to provide better flow of surface waters. This route is approximately 2.4 miles in length.

Cape Deceit Road improvements will also provide access to a nearby world-class bird nesting area. This rookery will be accessible to tourists as part of the long-term Deering economic development plan.

  • New Heated Garage for heavy equipment: This project will consist of procuring a new garage for the tribally-owned grader and front-loader. The garage will be approximately 36’ wide, 40’ deep, and 20’ tall.
  • Dust control: Apply a dust control spray to all local roads, airport apron, and runway.

Urgency: The community has an ever increasing need for local transportation improvements. Additional transportation funding will provide improved maintenance to important roads and trails. Furthermore, access to mineral and subsistence resources have been reported as a top priority for the community since 1999. Mineral exploration and mining will improve local cash-flow and create a higher standard of living for Deering residents. Quality borrow material (sand and gravel) accessed along the route is necessary to improve and develop new roads, create new home sites, construct a new landfill, and for resurfacing the airport runway. Many of the existing deficiencies are health and safety risks and if left unaddressed will likely contribute to increased accident rates and respiratory health issues.

1.0      Introduction

On October 8, 2009 EBSC Engineering LLC entered into an agreement with the Deering IRA Council to assist the community in developing an updated Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

The purpose of long-range transportation planning is to clearly demonstrate a community's transportation needs and to fulfill community goals by developing strategies to meet these needs. These strategies should address future land use, economic development, traffic demand, public safety, and health and social needs.

1.1         Goals and Objectives

The goal of the LRTP is to provide a document that will be used to guide the efforts of community members, agencies, and consultants in improving transportation-related facilities in Deering. The plan is comprehensive in its view of community needs, as they relate to transportation, yet focuses on what can realistically be accomplished with available resources, and those resources that are likely to be available in the future.

The LRTP is easy to use because it clearly communicates the findings and recommendations of the planning process. The community participated in the development of the LRTP by voicing concerns at the public meeting. Additional feedback was provided by the city/tribal council during the plan review period. Priorities were developed by the cooperative effort of the community, city planning committee, city administration, tribal administration, Borough, and the project manager.

In order to achieve the goals describe above, the LRTP has the following objectives:

  • Describe the existing transportation facilities
  • List current transportation deficiencies and future needs
  • Identify and evaluate practicable and dependable alternatives for desired improvements
  • Present and recommend a phased construction program based on community priorities, including estimates of capital and operation and maintenance costs

1.2         Recent Planning Efforts

2009-2011, City of Deering Sanitation Facilities Feasibility Study: The city of Deering received SFY 2008 funding from the Village Safe Water for developing an updated sanitation facilities master plan. The project will be administered by the Village Safe Water and completed by CE2 Engineers. The project is expected to be completed in Spring 2011.

2010-2011, Deering Snow Drift Management Plan: A general plan to address local snow drift concerns was initiated in 2010 with the installation of approximately 1000 linear feet of temporary snow fencing in Deering. Effectiveness of the snow fencing will be observed in March and final design recommendations reported soon after. The goal is to install permanent fencing to reduce snow drifting along Cape Deceit Road, particularly around the clinic and fuel dispensing area.

April 2006, Deering Community Comprehensive Development Plan: A Community Comprehensive Plan (CCP) was developed for Deering in 2006 with the support of the Northwest Arctic Borough planning department and Maniilaq Association. The following improvements were recommended for immediate attention (in order of priority):

  1. Land use planning (zoning) for industrial and housing uses
  2. Alternative and renewable energy development
  3. Improve the management capacity of city and tribal offices
  4. Obtain village law enforcement (Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) and VPO)
  5. Multi-purpose office building with the City and Tribe Dump site repairs
  6. Erosion control
  7. Culture camp with youth and Elders to teach traditional knowledge
  8. Cultural center with an arts and crafts workshop and sales center
  9. Barge landing development
1993, Deering Long-Range Transportation Plan: A Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) was developed by the Deering IRA Council in 1993. The following improvements were recommended for immediate attention (in order of priority):
  1. Improved drainage along Deering Road & DER 6 (Cape Deceit Road)
  2. Install culverts along roads as-needed
  3. Reroute Deering Road away from Inmachuk River
  4. Fill with course surface material

1.3         Planning Approach and Process

To develop a practical approach to the LRTP, participants must understand where the community has been in the past regarding transportation facilities, where the community is now, and where the community chooses to go. A shared understanding of these elements is essential for the Plan to adequately serve the residents of Deering now and in the future.

Often there is more than one solution to a problem. People tend to view things differently, based on background, experiences, and the roles they play during the planning process. It is recognized that programs associated with land use in Alaska communities are closely related to cultural values. By understanding these values, the planning process can more effectively consider transportation issues and better meet the needs of the community. In Deering special efforts were made to:

  • Identify culturally sensitive areas (cemeteries, sacred sites, etc.)
  • Identify traditional-use areas (hunting, gathering, berry picking, etc.)

Project Kickoff Meeting: A project kickoff meeting was held at the Deering tribal office on October 14, 2009. The evening before the meeting, a site visit was conducted of the Deering Road (19 miles of accessible road). During the meeting the history of transportation improvements, current transportation needs, and future improvements were discussed. A memo report of the kickoff meeting and associated site visit is presented in the Appendices.

Table 1: Project Milestones

Milestone:

Projected Date

Actual Date

2011 Revision

Project contract

 

10/08/2009

-----

Project site visit

 

10/13-14/09

-----

Draft Submittal of Deering Long-Range Transportation Plan

12/11/2009

12/10/2009

-----

Community meeting

01/13/2010

02/02/10

-----

Pre-Final LRTP submitted to Deering IRA for review/comment

02/06/2010

01/20/10

-----

Resolutions drafted and passed by Council

03/05/2010

 

 

Milestone:

Projected Date

Actual Date

2011 Revision

Final LRTP submitted

03/15/2010

3/15/2010

03/14/2011

IRR Inventory submitted to BIA

03/15/2010

3/15/2010

03/14/2011

1.4         Agency Input

According to the State of Alaska, Division of Community & Regional Affairs the following projects are being considered, or are already funded for design and construction, or completed.

Table 2: Capital Projects and Grants

Lead

Agency

Fiscal

Year

Project

Status

Project Description

Project

Stage

Total Cost

AEA-AEEE

2009

Funded

Deering Wind System Assessment

Contract

$119,313

DEC/VSW

2009

Funded

Installation of raw water transmission line and

Preliminary

$845,650

 

 

 

repairs to the infiltration gallery and pump house

 

 

DEED

2009

Funded

K-12 School Improvements, Phase 2

Preliminary

$871,196

DEC/VSW

2008

Funded

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Project

Preliminary

$167,400

DEC/VSW

2005

Funded

Water Supply/Sewer Discharge Study

Preliminary

$25,000

HUD

2009

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Contract

$98,812

HUD

2008

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Design

$87,851

DEED

2009

Funded

K-12 School Improvements

Preliminary

$871,196

DEC/VSW

2008

Funded

Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Project

Contract

$167,400

HUD

2007

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Construction

$101,021

DEC/VSW

2005

Funded

Water Supply/Sewer Discharge Study

Completed

$25,000

HUD

2006

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Completed

$99,958

FAA

2005

Funded

Snow Removal Equipment

Contract

$266,829

BIA

1999

Funded

Grade & Drain Inmachuk River Road

Design

$2,500,000

DEED

2006

Funded

Deering School Improvements

Construction

$3,709,065

HUD

2005

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Completed

$96,511

HUD

2005

Funded

Housing Rehabilitation ICDBG

Completed

$500,000

DEC/VSW

2005

Funded

Water Storage Tank & WTP Completion

Completed

$1,150,000

DEC/VSW

2002

Funded

Design and upgrade of solid waste disposal site

Completed

$131,000

DEC/VSW

1999

Funded

Water Treatment Plant/Washeteria

Completed

$1,340,000

DCCED

2005

Funded

Community Facilities & Equipment Repair

Completed

$68,421

ANTHC

2004

Funded

Health Clinic Construction

Completed

$2,481,141

HUD

2004

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Completed

$103,706

HUD

2003

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Completed

$187,588

DOT&PF

2003

Funded

Cape Deceit Road Improvements

Completed

$85,000

DCCED

2003

Funded

Water & Sewer Upgrades/Heavy Equipment

Completed

$26,316

USDA/RD

2003

Funded

Fire Response Equipment & Training

Completed

$66,025

DCCED

2002

Funded

Community Facilities and Equipment

Completed

$26,316

HUD

2002

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Completed

$181,675

AEA-BF

2002

Funded

Bulk Fuel Facility School District.

Completed

$3,829,003

DCCED

2001

Funded

Community Facilities and Equipment

Completed

$26,316

DEC/VSW

2001

Funded

Water and Sewer project

Completed

$580,000

FAA

2001

Funded

Rehabilitate Runway

Completed

$2,984,272

FAA

2001

Funded

Extend Runway

Completed

$2,018,750

DEC/VSW

2001

Funded

Water & Sewer

Completed

$720,000

DEC/VSW

2001

Funded

Sewer System

Completed

$720,000

AEA-RPSU

2000

Funded

RPSU Powerhouse

Completed

$1,120,023

DCCED

2000

Funded

Community Facilities and Equipment

Completed

$26,316

HUD

2000

Funded

Indian Housing Block Grant

Completed

$174,477

Lead

Agency

Fiscal

Year

Project

Status

Project Description

Project

Stage

Total Cost

FAA

2016

Planned

Rehabilitate Runway 11/29

N/A

$1,050,000

FAA

2008

Planned

Improve Snow Removal Equipment Building

N/A

$115,500

Note: Information from State of Alaska, Online Community Database, Feb. 2010 – only shown grants from 2000 or later.

The following agencies were contacted during the preparation of this long-range transportation plan.

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) – The Alaska BIA Roads Program recently funded the design of snow fencing in Deering, including pilot testing of 1000 linear feet of snow fence. It is expected final design and recommendations will be completed by April 15, 2011.

There are no other construction plans for Deering. However, the Construction Department recently approved transfer of heavy equipment over to the Tribe. The equipment is already in Deering and was used during 2006-2009 improvements to the Deering Road. See Table 5.

Division of Water/Village Safe Water Program (DEC/VSW) – The DEC/VSW has completed work for all proposed projects except for the most recently funded Feasibility Study. As of November 2009, this project was approximately 60% complete.

Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) – The ADOT&PF does not have any current plans for construction of new transportation-related improvements in Deering.

Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority (NIHA) – NIHA weatherized 22 Deering homes in 2007 and hopes to weatherize the remaining homes by 2011. NIHA administers Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds.

Maniilaq Association – Maniilaq does not have any projects planned for construction in Deering.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) – The COE has had recent discussions with the Northwest Arctic Borough regarding stream bank stabilization in Deering. The COE is willing to pay 50% of the cost for a feasibility study, and 65% of the cost for any resulting construction. The maximum total Federal expenditure on any one project is $3.5 million.

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation (AHFC) – No project currently funded by AHFC in Deering.

Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) – ANTHC provided $2.17 million for replacing the Deering water main (FY2009). The project is being administered by Village Safe Water.

2.0      Project Planning Area

Table 3: Summary of Project Planning Area

Population

133 (2008 DCCED Certified Population)

Occupied Housing Units

42 (2000 Census)

Village Corporation

NANA Development Corporation

Regional Native Corporation

NANA Regional Corporation

Borough

Northwest Arctic Borough

School District

Northwest Arctic Borough School District

Incorporation Type

Second Class City

Existing IRR Inventory (3 roads)

50.3 miles

 2.1      Location and Access

Picture Placeholder

Deering is located on Kotzebue Sound at the mouth of the Inmachuk River, 57 miles southwest of Kotzebue. It is built on a flat sand and gravel spit 300 feet wide and a half-mile long.

2.2         History and Culture

The Native Village of Deering is a predominately Inupiat Eskimo community located within a historic

territory. Deering’s economy is a mix of cash and subsistence activities, with active reindeer herding in the recent past. The present day village was established in 1901 as a support town for gold mining in the interior of the Seward Peninsula, particularly the gold mining community of Utica, located some 20 miles upstream from the historic village of Inmachukmiut on the Inmachuk River.

Archaeological research carried out since 1949 has identified at least three prehistoric cultures present along the spit and on the adjacent headland at Cape Deceit: Ipiutak, Western Thule, and late prehistoric Inupiat Eskimo. These cultures date back nearly 2000 years.

2.3         Population

The 1910 census recorded 100 residents in Deering. Since then, the population has remained somewhat unstable. The greatest increase occurred during the 1940’s, but declined to as low as 85 persons in 1970. In 1990 the population was recorded as 157, but then dropped to 136 in the 2000 recording. The 2008 population, as certified by the State, was 133 people.

2.3.1                   Population forecasting

Based on statewide trends published in October 2007, a growth rate of 1.06% can be expected in Northwestern Alaska. Based on th is rate of growth, Deering can expect the populat ion to grow to the following numbers over the next 20-years:

2009 population:

133 (certified in 2008)

2014 population:

140

2019 population:

147

2029 population:

155

Population Trend

Chart Graph Placeholder

2.3.2                  Growth areas

Picture Placeholder

 

City of Deering Subdivision: The city of Deering created the City of Deering Subdivis ion (CDS) to accommodate the long-term  growth of  the community. CDS encompasses the  entire residential area and consists of 1 block with a total of 61lots. The subdivision includes the following (2000 census data):

  • 42 Occupied homes
  • 19 Vacated houses

Proposed Deering NIHA Housing Subdivision: At one time, the Northwest lnupiat Housing Authority (NIHA) considered subdividing the western end of town for additional homes. The strip of land would border Kotzebue Sound. Developing this area is no longer being considered due to seashore erosion and the known presence of buried archaeological artifacts.

2.3.3                   Planned construction projects

Housing improvements: NIHA will be actively working in Deering over the next several years to weat herize existing homes. There are no new homes planned for construction in Deering.

Sanitation improvements: A new water line from the pump house to the treatment plant was installed in 2009. An updated sanitation facilities master plan is currently being developed and is expected to be completed in 2011.

Rock extraction: NANA Regional Corporation has expressed an interest in mining armor rock from a quarry located east of the community. This project is on hold pending further investigations and discussions on potential archaeological findings.

Snow Fencing: The BIA provided funding for the design and pilot testing of snow fencing in Deering. The tribe intends to apply for permanent snow fence funding in November 2011 with potential construction in summer 2012.

2.4         Environmental Conditions

2.4.1    Climate

Deering is located in the transitional climate zone, which is characterized by long, cold winters and cool summers. The average low temperature during January is minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit (°F). The average high during July is 63°F degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature extremes from a low of minus 60 to a high of 85°F have been measured. Snowfall averages 36 inches, and total precipitation averages 9 inches per year. Kotzebue Sound is typically ice-free from early July until mid-October.

Prevailing winds are from the west. The following climatic conditions should be used for the design of facilities in Deering:

Table 4: Environmental Summary

  • Generally underlain by continuous permafrost
  • Latitude 66.0755° N, Longitude 162.713° W
  • River ice freeze-up 10/21, thaw 5/19 (average)
  • Coastal ice freeze-up 10/23, thaw 5/3 (average)
  • Mean annual precipitation is about 10 inches per year
  • Mean annual snowfall is about 35 inches per year
  • Mean annual temperature is 20°F
  • Heating degree days are about 15,600
  • Design thaw index is about 1800 degree days
  • Design freezing index (1 year in 10) is about 6300 degree days
  • Design thawing Index (1 year in 10), is 2500 degree days
  • Design wind load is 40 pounds per square foot
  • Design snow load is 30 pounds per square foot
  • Prevailing wind to the northwest
  • Seismic zone 1

Note: Data from Western Regional Climate Center and The Environmental Atlas of Alaska, 1969. Current conditions may differ and should be confirmed prior to design construction.

2.4.2    Soil conditions and gravel resources

Geology/ Soils: Deering is located at the southern end of Kotzebue Sound at the mouth of the Inmachuk River, 57 miles southwest of Kotzebue. The community is built on a sand and gravel spit approximately 300 feet wide and a half-mile long. The spit is generally composed of a 5 foot layer of sand underlain by gravel. The soil is well-drained and thaws to a depth of about 7 feet in summer.

The Inmachuk River valley is underlain by sand and gravel and generally covered by two to three feet of organic soils and vegetation. Outside of the valley, the area is slightly hilly and covered with tundra. Permafrost is found throughout the area.

Gravel: The NANA Region Gravel Study (1984) located a gravel source about two miles south of the village along Deering Road. The site is reportedly in use as a material source. A 1980 ADOT/PF "Engineering Geology and Soils Report" indicates the presence of numerous sand and gravel deposits along the bars of the Inmachuk River near the Deering airport. Many of these sources, however, are located on airport property and may be unavailable for use in road construction. In addition, ADOT /PF identified two potential silt sources, along the river between the airfield and the Deering town site, for use as binder material in structural material mixes. The DCRA Community Profile for Deering (1976) also noted a floodplain to the southwest of the town site as a possible sand and gravel source.

2.4.3    Vegetation and wetlands

All undeveloped land in and around Deering is likely considered Wetlands by the U.S. Corps of Engineers for planning and permitting purposes. Vegetation consists of tussocks, bushes, moss, and willows.

2.4.4    Water resources

Kotzebue Sound: The Kotzebue Sound is a major transportation route for accessing hunting and fishing camps, neighboring villages, and local attractions. The Sound is also the primary means of transporting goods and materials by barge during the summer. The Sound is shallow and most barges must wait until high tide to dock and unload.

Inmachuk River: Water is derived from the Inmachuk River (from an infiltration gallery), treated, and pumped to a 400,000-gallon insulated storage tank. The Inmachuk River is also used as a boat harbor for small private boats, recreational area, and water source for upriver mining operations. Residents often collect water directly from the river for home use.

Smith Creek: Is a freshwater tributary to the Inmachuk River. The creek is not used as a water resource and is typically very shallow.

Groundwater: Shallow groundwater (influenced by surface water) is readily available from within the Inmachuk River valley. There are no reported groundwater wells within the developed area of Deering.

2.4.5    Flood and erosion hazards

Storm surges and wind-driven waves cause coastal flooding at Deering at an average return interval of 40 to 60 years. Large waves threatened the village in 1963, but no homes were flooded. Floods resulting from a storm in 1973 caused extensive damage to homes and evacuation of the village. During high floods the passage way along Deering Road becomes blocked, thereby restricting egress from the village. An alternate route from the village to the airport is recommended.

Beach erosion is occurring in the vicinity of the fuel tank farm and may eventually impact the archaeological artifacts known to be buried in that area. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has performed preliminary studies and recommends shielding the shoreline to mitigate erosion of the beach and archaeological resources. A more comprehensive study may be conducted by the Corps depending on availability of local and federal funds.

 2.4.6    Other hazards and environmental considerations

Seismic: Based on historical data, earthquake activity in the Northwest Region is very low. Deering is within a region categorized as seismic zone 1.

Forest Fires: Forest fires within the Region are common and often result in reduced visibility and poor air quality. Deering residents have experienced dense smoke in the area from distant fires, but impact from local fires.

Endangered Species: Based on correspondence with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, there are no endangered or threatened species in the vicinity of Deering.

Historic Preservation Act: There are recorded archaeological and historic sites located within the immediate area of Deering. Prior to any construction project, the State Historical Preservations Office will need to be notified.

2.5         Local Government and Administration

Under state statute organized boroughs have authority for planning, platting, and land use regulation within their boundaries, or may delegate authority to incorporated communities. The Northwest Arctic Borough exercises its authority through the Borough Assembly and Planning and Zoning Commission. In Deering, land use issues are coordinated through the City Council; a Planning and Zoning Commission has not been established. Land use requirements for specific road projects will vary depending on the project location. As applicable, road improvements are subject to federal and state regulations, borough and city regulations, village requirements, and private landowner approvals.

The City of Deering has not developed a comprehensive road development plan. The City is included in the Northwest Arctic Borough Comprehensive Plan. Development in Deering may be subject to provisions of the Northwest Arctic Borough Coastal Zone Management Plan. Future development plans may impact the surface transportation needs of the community. The governing bodies of Deering include the City of Deering and the Native Village of Deering. Contacts for the city and tribal office are presented below.

City of Deering

Native Village of Deering

P.O. Box 36049

P.O. Box 36089

Deering, AK 99736

Deering, AK 99736

Phone: 907-363-2136

Phone: 907-363-2138

Fax: 907-363-2156

Fax: 907-363-2195

E-Mail: cityofdeering@yahoo.com

E-Mail: tribeadmin@ipnatchiaq.org

2.6         City/Tribal Facilities and Resources

Deering has benefited from State and Federal housing projects that resulted in construction of many of the modern structures in the community. Deering also has a school, commercial stores, a community hall, health clinic, church, and post office. The school provides the local students with a K-12 educational curriculum. Electricity is generated in the village and is distributed throughout the community. The village water is pumped from the river, treated, and distributed at the City owned Washeteria.

The village has a vacuum sewage system that was put in place in each home in 1998 -1999 construction seasons. The City of Deering owns the following utilities: water and sewer, electric, and the washeteria. In the 1993 state legislative session, funds were allocated to the Department of Environmental Conservation, Village Safe Water Program, for Deering water and sewer. The village has a bulk fuel storage facility that is owned by the City of Deering, but maintained and operated by the Deering IRA.

2.6.1      Tribal and public usebuildings

The city, tribal, and public use facilities in Deering include the following:

  • City and Tribal Offices
  • Post Office
  • Health Clinic
  • Deering K-12 school (owned and operated by the Northwest Arctic Borough School District)
  • Washeteria

2.6.2      Utilities

The utilities in Deering include the following:

  • Electric: Electric power is provided by Ipnatchiaq Electric Co. (City-owned) at the cost of $0.49 per KW/hour. The power company participates in the State Power Cost Equalization program.
  • Telecommunications: Land and wireless phone and internet service is provided by GCI, Inc.
  • Water/Sewer: The Piped water and sewer is operated and maintained by the city.
  • Solid Waste: The class III landfill is operated and maintained by the Deering IRA Council.
  • Fuel Oil: Fuel oil (#1 diesel) is stored and sold by the Deering IRA Council. Fuel oil is used as the primary heating fuel for nearly all homes and business.

2.6.3     Heavy equipment and machinery

The BIA Roads Construction Program approved transfer of heavy equipment from the BIA to the Deering IRA in 2010. The equipment was first mobilized to Deering in 2006 in support of improving Deering

Road. Additional equipment and machinery is owned, operated, and maintained by the city of Deering and the State of Alaska. A listing of what is currently available is presented below.

Table 5: Heavy Equipment

Equipment

Owner

Make & Model

Condition

Loader

Tribe

JD 844

Good

Mechanic’s Truck

Tribe

 

Good

Dump Truck

City of Deering

GMC

Poor

Excavator

City of Deering

MS280

Fair

Back hoe / loader

City of Deering

310 John Deere

Poor

Grader

DOT&PF

550

Good

Loader

DOT&PF

Case 821

Good

Loader

DOT&PF

L90 Michigan

Poor

Spray equipment may be borrowed from the DOT&PF to apply dust palliative on airport runways.

In general, state-owned DOT&PF heavy equipment is not available for use on local projects. The equipment is reserved strictly for operating and maintaining the airport runway. City-owned equipment, however, is available for lease.

 2.6.4    Technical and labor resources

Deering has a ready workforce that is trained and experienced in construction projects. There are a number of heavy equipment operators, carpenters, and laborers who are permanent residents of Deering. Recent improvements along the Deering Road including bank stabilization and culvert replacement were completed using all local labor.

2.7         Land Status

2.7.1      Mapping resources

  • An Orthometric map of Deering was created by Aerometric in December 2010 from an August 2010 photo. The area of coverage includes the village and northern part of the airport.
  • Community profile maps and hi-resolution aerial photographs, orthomaps, and contour data are available for purchase from the State of Alaska, Division of Community & Regional Affairs.
  • Deering Village Land Status Map, NANA Regional Corporation
  • NANA Deering ANCSA Withdrawal Area Land Status Map
  • Topographic surveys of Deering Road were conducted by DOWL Engineers in 2001 and 2003.

 2.7.2    Land status within project area

NANA Regional Corporation acts as the Village Corporation. NANA’s Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Section 12 (a) land entitlement from the federal government is 92,160 acres for Deering, Alaska (76,778 acres conveyed to date). Section 14 (c) (3) of ANCSA provides for the conveyance of surface estate from the Village Corporation to the City for the purpose of community use. This conveyance was signed and executed in 1996.

2.7.3    Culturally sensitive and traditional-use areas

Subsistence activities in and around Deering are not only an important part of the Inupiaq culture, but a necessity of life in rural Alaska. Cultural and traditional-use areas in the vicinity of Deering include:

  • Berry picking: The areas south of Deering along the hillside and around the airport runway are popular for blueberry picking in late summer.
  • Hunting: Deering is within the migration route of the Western Arctic Caribou Herd. Fall hunting areas are accessed by boat, or by vehicle along Deering Road. Winter hunting sites are accessed by snow machine using established trails.
  • Fishing: Spring fishing takes place along the shore of Kotzebue Sound and Inmachuk River.
  • Wood gathering: Wood is generally gathered from the beach located beyond the local cemetery. Wood is collected and stacked to dry during the summer months.
  • Fish drying: Fish are typically dried at fish camps located along the banks of the Inmachuk River. Many residents also install fish racks next to their home for drying.
  • Duck hunting: Duck hunting takes place to the immediate south and west of the community.
  • Cemetery: The local cemetery is located northwest of the community.
3.0      Financial and Management Capacity

Table 6: Deering Financial Profile (2000 Census Data)

Per Capita Income

$11,000

Median Household Income

$33,333

Median Family Income

$43,438

Persons in Poverty

8

Percent Below Poverty

5.8%

 

Table 7: BIA Transportation Funds (Tribal Shares)

Year

F31 Funds (construction)

F36 Funds (2% planning)

Yearly Subtotals

FY2005

$194,279.56

$4,887.02

$199,166.58

FY2006

$214,666.05

$4,959.69

$219,625.74

FY2007

$162,051.41

$3,545.54

$165,596.95

FY2008

$116,511.93

$2,291.37

$118,803.30

FY2009

$110,177.00

$1,957.00

$112,134.00

FY2010

$100,593.00

$1,722.00

$102,315.00

 

 

Total:

$917,641.57

3.1         Economic and Financial Profile

Deering's economy is a mix of cash and subsistence activities. Moose, caribou, musk ox, seal and beluga whale provide most meat sources; pink salmon, tom cod, herring, ptarmigan, rabbit and waterfowl are also utilized. The Karmun-Moto reindeer herd, once numbered about 1,400 animals, no longer provides any employment opportunities. A number of residents earn income from handicrafts and trapping. The village is interested in developing a craft production facility and cultural center to train youth in Native crafts. The Red Dog Mine, school, City, Maniilaq Association, stores, and an airline provide the only year- round jobs. Summer-time mining recently started near the historical Utica mine. Two residents hold commercial fishing permits. The village wants to develop eco-tourism, including a 38-mile road to Inmachuk Springs and a world-class bird-sighting area.

3.2         Transportation Management and O&M Practices

The City of Deering maintains the local roads. The airport runway and apron is maintained by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

No information on road operations and maintenance expenditures were found. Deering has participated in the State Revenue Sharing in the past to fund roadway maintenance.

4.0      Existing Transportation Facilities

4.1       History of Transportation Improvements

Airport: The Deering Airport was constructed in about 1982 and is owned and operated by the State of

Alaska, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. A cross-wind runway was constructed in about 1995. Deering owns a van that is used as an airport shuttle. The van, purchased in 2006 with tribal shares, is a 2007 GMC Savana. A list of FAA and DOT&PF funded projects is listed in Table 8 below. A small dirt runway is located near the Utica mine and remains in use by prospectors.

Trails: Local trails have been used in this area since Deering was first settled in the early 1900’s. Prior to the introduction of snow machines, inter-village trails were used by dogsleds for traveling and mail delivery. Seasonal trails connect to Kotzebue, Buckland, Shishmaref, upriver hunting sites, and coastal wood-gathering sites.

Roads: The early road system in Deering was developed to transport supplies and equipment to mining sites upriver. Local community roads were constructed without the benefit of long-range planning resulting in narrow roads, sharp turning angles, and limited right-of-way access within sections of the community. Over the years improvements have been made to grading and drainage along portions of the roads.

Waterways/ Docks: The boat docking area has been used since the earliest days of Deering.

Table 8: Record of State and Federal Transportation-Related Projects

Lead

Agency

Fiscal

Year

Project

Status

Project Description

Project

Stage

Total Cost

FAA

2005

Funded

Snow Removal Equipment

Contract

$266,829

BIA

1999

Funded

Grade & Drain Inmachuk River Road

Completed

$2,500,000

DOT&PF

2003

Funded

Cape Deceit Road Improvements

Completed

$85,000

FAA

2001

Funded

Rehabilitate Runway

Completed

$2,984,272

FAA

2001

Funded

Extend Runway

Completed

$2,018,750

BIA

1997

Funded

Roads / Design

Completed

$1,000

DCCED

1995

Funded

Emergency Erosion Protection

Completed

$500,000

DOT&PF

1992

Funded

Airport Crosswind Runway

Completed

$2,701,879

FAA

1991

Funded

Acquire Land for Development

Completed

$114,238

FAA

1991

Funded

Acquire Snow Removal Equipment

Completed

$141,923

FAA

1991

Funded

Improve Snow Removal Equipment Building

Completed

$385,104

FAA

2016

Planned

Rehabilitate Runway 11/29

N/A

$1,050,000

FAA

2008

Planned

Improve Snow Removal Equipment Building

N/A

$115,500

FAA = Federal Aviation Administration, DOT&PF = Department of Transportation & Public Facilities.

4.2         Existing Transportation Facilities and Present Deficiencies

Passengers and cargo are transported to the community primarily by air. The village is equipped with a state-owned gravel airstrip and receives regularly scheduled flights on a daily basis. Most bulk cargo and fuel is transported to the community via barges during the summer months. Since the near shore is shallow, the freight must often be lightered to the beach. There are no constructed roads that connect Deering to other neighboring villages. Winter trails connect Deering with the neighboring communities of Candle, Buckland, Shishmaref, and Kotzebue.

4.2.1    Airport

A State-owned airport provides year-round access to Deering. The facility consists of a 3,300 foot primary runway, 2,640 foot cross-wind runway, apron, and equipment storage building. The airport and associated runway is located approximately one mile west of the community.

Picture Placeholder

Operation: The Deering Airport is owned and operated by the State of Alaska, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. Several regional air taxis operating out of Kotzebue provide daily service to Deering via the state-owned facility. These flights include transportation of people, U.S. mail, medical equipment, food, and general cargo shipments.

Maintenance: The airport is maintained by the State of Alaska DOT&PF. State-owned heavy equipment used for maintaining the runway includes a grader and front-end loader. The facility is maintained year- round and routinely graded in late spring after breakup. The runway is also plowed as-needed during the winter. Heavy equipment is stored in a heated garage. After heavy rains and spring breakup, the runway becomes soft, thereby increasing the maintenance requirements.

To reduce airborne dust, the DOT&PF has previously sprayed a liquid dust inhibitor on the runway and apron using spray equipment rented from Kawerak, Inc. out of Nome, Alaska. According to residents, the dust control works very well.

Deficiencies: The reported airport-related deficiencies include the following:

  • Airport is too short to land larger airplanes.
  • No waiting facility: The residents and visitors of Deering remain in the cold as they await air travel during winter months.
  • Excessive dust: Dust is a major problem - especially at the apron when the aircraft are throttling to turn the plane. This often spreads dust over the entire community.

 4.2.2    Waterways and dock

The Kotzebue Sound is a transportation route for both private watercraft and barge traffic. When the Sound is not frozen, the water body serves as the primary transportation route to nearby villages, fish camps, and hunting and fishing areas. The barge docking facilities at Deering consist of a gravely beach accessible by one road.

Private boats dock along the Inmachuk River and Smith Creek where they are protected from heavy wave action. During the summer it is common to find 20 to 30 boats anchored along the river’s edge.

Operation: Barge service provides delivery of general supplies for the local stores, gasoline, fuel, oil, gravel, personal vehicles, construction equipment and materials, and other items requiring shipment. Fuel delivery to Deering occurs only by barge during the summer months. Fuel and gasoline delivered by barge are used throughout the year to provide for electrical generation, commercial and residential heating, and transportation (boats, trucks, 4- wheelers, snow machines, etc.). Crowley Marine Services is the primary barge operator and ships fuel and supplies each summer.

Maintenance: None

Deficiencies: Improved road access to the beach will be addressed in the roads section below. Deficiencies specifically related to the beach and docking facilities include:

  • Shallow docking for barges in Kotzebue Sound. Closer docking will provide safer loading and unloading of equipment and supplies.
  • Poor landing along the Inmachuk River for private boats. Grading and improved road access is needed.
  • Kotzebue Sound is eroding the entire beach front, including in the vicinity of the sewage lift station.

4.2.3    Roads

In 1993, the BIA Indian Reservation Road (IRR) Inventory was updated and presently includes three official routes in Deering. The routes, which are summarized in Table 9, combine for approximately 50.3 miles of existing and proposed roadway that serves the community’s residents, businesses, and public facilities. In general, the existing roads are 10 to 20 feet wide and are constructed at or above grade from sand and gravel taken from various local borrow sources. During spring and early summer, many of the roads become soft and muddy making vehicular travel difficult. Once the roads dry out, they become a nearly constant source of dust. Fall rains return the roads to their muddy condition.

Deering Road (BIA Route 2500): This road extends from town center to a historic inland mining district, approximately 26.3 miles in length. Deering Road runs adjacent to the Inmachuk River, and consequently, there are sections that run very close to the river’s edge.

Deering Road has a 90-foot span, 15-foot wide, wood/steel bridge across Smith Creek. The bridge is reported to be in good condition; however, the bridge was not intended for heavy equipment. Traffic from tractors, bulldozers and other construction equipment is diverted through the river during low water levels. Further investigation of the bridge structure and its load capacity is needed.

Chicago Creek Road (BIA Route 0007): This road serves as a passage to a mining area farther inland from Deering town center. This road veers off from Deering Road and extends 22 miles in length. This roadway has not had any maintenance or improvements thus far.

Cape Deceit Road (BIA Route 0006): During past winters, Cape Deceit Road becomes completely inaccessible to vehicular traffic due to deep snow and high drifts, thereby resulting in highly restricted travel. This obstruction is a major life and safety risk to all members of our community.

Cape Deceit Road (2.0 miles in length) is the most widely used road in the community and provides access to all homes, city and tribal offices, stores, clinic, school, airport road, power plant, water plant, fuel tank farm, and cemetery. During the winter months, snow accumulates on the road and is often blown into high drifts. When this happens the residents must use the wind-swept beach as an alternative roadway.

Operation: The primary means of overland transportation in the community is by four-wheeler and snow machine. There are, however, an increasing number of locally-owned, full-sized trucks. The trucks are difficult to maneuver on some of the more narrow roads.

Maintenance: There is no formal maintenance program for the local roads. Roads are graded and repaired as needed by the City of Deering. In the past, gravel has been added to the surface of a few roads, primarily those that connect the barge landing area with major construction sites. However, most roads are in poor condition and in dire need of repair.

Deficiencies: The identified road-related deficiencies in Deering include the following:

  • Deering Road is in dire need of improved drainage, grading, and foundation repair along portions of the route. Recent improvements, including bank stabilization and culvert replacement have been very successful. A new river crossing is needed.
  • Chicago Creek Road is currently inaccessible. Grading and drainage improvements are needed.
  • Cape Deceit Road is in dire need of improved drainage, grading, and foundation repair. The road west of the fuel tank farm is located on tundra and in very poor condition. Permafrost degradation has resulted in ground slumping and deep pools adjacent to the road. The most notable impact is on the southwest corner of the sewage lagoon, which is at risk of failure. A failure and discharge of raw sewage would be highly undesirable and a health risk to the environment and Deering residents.
  • Existing roads that currently provide access to homes and business are not on the BIA IRR Inventory. These roads need to be surveyed, platted, and added to the inventory.
  • Secondary access to the airport is needed for evacuation and other emergency use. During past flood events, access between the community and airport was cut-off due to high waters. An alternate access will ensure a safe route for evacuation.
  • The beach is regularly used as a road to travel within the community, particularly in the winter when Cape Deceit Road is inaccessible due to snow drifts. This route (Beach Road) will be added to the inventory.

4.2.4       Trails

Seasonal-use trails remain an important part of travel in and around Deering. During the winter, the trails are exclusively used by snow machine to travel to nearby villages including Kotzebue, Shishmaref, and Buckland. The trails also provide access to important hunting areas. These routes are used only after enough snow accumulates to provide a smooth trail.

Kotzebue Trail: The Kotzebue trail begins in Deering and extends approximately 28 miles eastward to Kiwalik. The trail is primarily on land and accessible only after sufficient snow fall. Kiwalik is an unincorporated village located where the Kiwalik River flows into Kotzebue Sound. There is a search and rescue cabin located in Kiwalik.

From Kiwalik, the trail continues on approximately 24 miles to Elephant Point. This section of the route is primarily on the frozen Kotzebue Sound. The trail then goes northward to Kotzebue.

Buckland Trail: The Buckland trail follows the same route as the Kotzebue trail until Kiwalik, then diverts to Buckland. Winter trails are staked.

Shishmaref Trail: The Shishmaref Trail begins in Deering and extends approximately 30 miles westward to Goodhope. The trail is primarily on land and passable only after sufficient snow accumulation. It is approximately 65 miles from Goodhope to Shishmaref.

Upriver Trail: The upriver trail extends from Deering Road (Station 19 + 600) over a ridge and to a historic mining area. The trail is currently used to access the backcountry for hunting. Future improvements will provide access to mining areas.

Operation: Trails are used in winter by snow machine.

Maintenance: The Northwest Arctic Borough (NAB) provides funding for maintenance of trail stakes along the following winter trails:

Trail

Type

Length (miles)

Funding

Deering to Kiwalik

Land

28

$1,260

Kiwalik to Elephant Pt.

Ice

Pending

Pending

Deering to Goodhope

Land

23

$1,035

Note: Funding amounts based on 2006-2007 records.

Temporary stakes constructed of either willows or plastic are placed on frozen waterways (i.e. lakes and rivers). Permanent wooden tripod stakes are placed on tundra for long-term use. Each year the routes along lakes and waterways have to be re-staked.

Deficiencies: Trail routes need to be added onto the BIA IRR Inventory.

4.3         Need for Transportation Improvements

4.3.1     Health and safety considerations

Dust: Dust has been reported as the number one health issue facing rural Alaska. Children are especially susceptible to the negative health impacts of dust, including bronchitis and asthma.

Bumps and ruts: Bumps and ruts are common on Deering roads and create highly uncomfortable travel conditions. These hazards also increase the risk of injury while traveling by bicycle or four-wheeler.

Road width: Narrow roads and limited line-of-sight increases the risk of injury while traveling by bicycle, four-wheeler, or truck. Some roads are too narrow for two vehicles to safely pass each other. Overgrowth of shrubs along Deering Road blocks the view of oncoming traffic.

Access: Improved access is needed for homes located behind the Native Store. The roads are narrow and there is no formal right-of-way. Cape Deceit Road becomes unusable during the winter due to snow build up and snow drifts. This prevents operation of the local emergency use vehicle. The road needs to be graded throughout the winter to provide vehicular access. Also, overhead power lines are dangerously low throughout town and along Deering Road to the pump house.

4.3.2    Environmental considerations

Erosion: Inadequate storm water control, and poor quality road foundation and surface course results in excessive erosion and sediment transport to the Inmachuk River during spring run-off and heavy rains.

Dust: Road dust that collects onto nearby vegetation significantly reduces the overall health of the plants, including willows, berries, and trees.

4.3.3    Operation and maintenance considerations

Roads in Deering are costly and difficult to maintain for the following reasons:

  • Extremely muddy during spring break and after a heavy rainfall. Roads are left rough and bumpy after drying. Requires additional grading to smooth over.
  • Poor road foundation causes slumping and heaving. Requires additional grading to smooth over.
  • Poor drainage causes ruts. Requires additional grading to smooth over.
  • Dust control is required to reduce health risks associated with excessive dust.
  • Snow accumulates along Cape Deceit Road requiring excessive maintenance for removal.

A non-frost-susceptible foundation and surface course would improve the comfort and safety of road travel while significantly reducing the maintenance required.

4.4         BIA Road Classification

Based on the BIA road classification criteria, the majority of roads within the Native Village of Deering fall within the Class 3 category. The Class 3 category consists of roads located within a community that primarily serve residential areas. Most roads within the Deering community provide access to one or more homes. The BIA road classification is as follows:

Class 1: Major arterial roads providing an integrated network with characteristics for serving traffic between large population centers, generally without stub connections and having average daily traffic volumes of 10,000 vehicles per day or more with more than two lanes of traffic.

Class 2: Rural minor arterial roads providing an integrated network having the characteristics for serving traffic between large population centers, generally without stub connections. May also link smaller towns and communities to major resort areas that attract travel over long distances and generally provide for relatively high overall travel speeds with minimum interference to through traffic movement. Generally provide for at least inter-county or inter-state service and are spaced at intervals consistent with population density. This class of road will have less than 10,000 vehicles per day.

Class 3: Streets that are located within communities serving residential areas.

Class 4: Rural major collector road is collector to rural local roads.

Class 5: Rural local road that is either a section line and/or stub type roads, make connections within the grid of the IRR system. This class of road may serve areas around villages, into farming areas, to schools, tourist attractions, or various small enterprises. Also included are roads and motorized trails for administration of forests, grazing, mining, oil, recreation, or other use purposes.

Class 6: Minor arterial streets that are located within communities and serve as access to major arterials.

Class 7: Collector streets that are located within communities and serve as collectors to the city local streets.

Class 8: This class encompasses all non-road projects such as paths, trails, walkways, or other designated types of routes for public use by foot traffic, bicycles, trail bikes, snowmobiles, all terrain vehicles, or other uses to provide for the general access of non-vehicular traffic.

Class 9: This classification encompasses other transportation facilities such as public parking facilities adjacent to IRR routes and scenic byways, rest areas, and other scenic pullouts, ferry boat terminals, and transit terminals.

Class 10: This classification encompasses airstrips that are within the boundaries of the IRR system grid and are open to the public. These airstrips are included for inventory and maintenance purposes only.

Class 11: This classification indicates an overlapping or previously inventoried section or sections of a route and is used to indicate that it is not to be used for accumulating needs data. This class is used for

reporting and identification purposes only.

Table 9: Summary of Existing and Proposed IRR Routes in Deering                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

“Official” IRR Routes

Route #

Section #

Length

BIA Class

CN

Priority

Ownership

Comment

Cape Deceit Road

0006

010

2.0 miles

4

2

High

3

Drainage & general improvements

Chicago Creek Road

0007

010

22.0

4

2

High

3

Drainage & general improvements

Deering Road

2500

010

26.3

4

2

High

3

Drainage & general improvements

IRR Routes to be added

First Avenue

0008

010

0.1

3

2

High

4

Add to inventory

*Second Avenue

0009

010

0.1

3

2

High

4

Right-of-way needed

*Third Avenue

0010

010

0.1

3

2

High

4

Right-of-way needed

Fourth Avenue

0011

010

0.1

3

2

High

4

Add to inventory

Smith Creek Road

0012

010

0.2

3

2

High

4

Add to inventory

Beach Road

0013

010

1.0

8

2

High

4

Primary intra-village road during winter

Shishmaref Trail

0014

010

31

8

2

Medium

2

Deering to Goodhope

Buckland Trail

0015

010

28

8

2

Medium

2

Overlaps with Kotzebue Trail, route 0019

Upriver Winter Trail

0016

010

9.5

8

2

Medium

4

Historic trail to mining area

West Airport Road

0017

010 - 030

1.0

5

2,4,2

High

4

Survey and platting required

Dredge Access Road

0018

010

0.5

5

2

Medium

4

Historic road to dredge

Note: CN = construction need

*These routes will be added in the future. Right-of-way issues will have to be resolved.

5.0      Recommended Transportation Improvements

5.1       Airport Improvements

Based on the noted deficiencies, the recommended improvements to the Deering Airport include:

  • Extend the runway from 3,300 feet to 4,000 feet
  • Build waiting facility to offer visitors and residents a warm waiting area at the airport

5.2         Waterways and Dock Improvements

Based on the noted deficiencies, the recommended dock improvements include:

  • Construct dock that extends 50 feet into Kotzebue Sound for loading and unloading barges
  • Provide graded and improved vehicular access to the Inmachuk River boat landing area

5.3         Road Improvements

To address the current deficiencies the following improvements are recommended:

  • Add existing roads to BIA IRR Inventory
  • New secondary access road to airport for emergency evacuation
  • Deering Road improvements
  • Cape Deceit Road improvements (extend to beach for wood gathering)
  • Construct heated garage for heavy equipment (used in winter for road plowing)
  • Improve access along Chicago Creek Road
  • Dust control

5.4         Trail Improvements

Trail maintenance between villages includes annual repair and placement of guide markers. This work is funded by the Northwest Arctic Borough. It is reported that there are no additional maintenance needs for the trails.

Table 10: Summary of Transportation Needs and Improvements

Facilities

Needs

Recommended Improvements

Airport

Extend runway to 4,000 feet

To accommodate larger planes

Waiting facility

Covered area with seating

Waterways and dock

Improved barge landing for safer loading and unloading

Construct dock extending 50-feet into Kotzebue Sound

Improved beach access and boat landing

Fill and grade beach area for improved access

Roads

Improve grade, drainage, and foundation along Deering Road. Provide erosion protection from Inmachuk River.

Fill and grade existing road. Repair and add culverts as-needed. Install armor rock to stop erosion.

Access to mining and hunting areas

Improve Chicago Creek Road

Improved drainage and structure along Cemetery Road (Cape Deceit Rd.)

Fill, grade, and repair the roadway foundation using local borrow material

Improve roads to existing housing areas

Survey roads, plat, and add to BIA IRR Inventory

Reduce dust from local roads

Apply dust control spray

Alternate access to airport/Emergency Evacuation Route

New right-of-way and gravel road along old wagon trail route (bridge required)

Trails

To Kotzebue, Shishmaref, Buckland, Candle and upriver sites

Add to BIA IRR Inventory

6.0      Prioritized Transportation Improvements

6.1       Prioritization Criterion and Process

A preliminary ranking of the improvements was made during the October 13, 2009 site visit. The ranking was based on two primary factors: the health and safety benefits of the improvement; and the number of users who will benefit from the improvement. A second round of transportation prioritization occurred on February 28, 2011. Minor changes were made at that time and are reflected in the current transportation plan.

6.2         Phase One Transportation Improvements

The Phase One Transportation Improvements are presently considered “high priority” by the residents of Deering and should be constructed prior to 2015. Presented below is a prioritized list of the recommended improvements during this phase.

1. Update BIA IRR Inventory and BIA Long-Range Transportation Plan: The Deering IRA Council will update the LRTP and IRR Inventory. New routes will be added to the inventory and a prioritized list of transportation-related improvements will be developed. New routes will include:
  1. First Avenue
  2. Fourth Avenue
  3. Smith Creek Road
  4. Beach Road
  5. West Airport Road
  6. Buckland Trail
  7. Shishmaref Trail
  8. Upriver Trail
  9. Dredge Access Road

Additional routes will be added after right-of-way issues are resolved, including Second and Third Avenues.

2. West Airport Road: This project will consist of constructing a new road from near the fuel tank farm to Deering Road in the vicinity of the airport. This road will provide an alternate egress route from the community in the event of an evacuation.

3. Improve Deering Road: Improve access subsistence hunting area, historic mining district, and former reindeer husbandry camp. This project will consist of repairing the roadway foundation and surface course of existing roads using local borrow material. Some sections of the road will be armored from river erosion. Some sections of the road will have to be moved.

4. Improve Cape Deceit Road: This project will consist of repairing the roadway foundation, drainage, and surface course of Cape Deceit Road from the tank farm to the cemetery.

5. Heated Garage: This project will consist of constructing a new garage for the tribally-owned grader and front-loader. The garage will be approximately 36’ wide, 40’ deep, and 20’ tall.

6. Dust control: Apply a dust control agent to all major roads in the community and airport apron. This will effectively reduce airborne dust and significantly improve the air quality of the village.

6.3         Phase Two Transportation Improvements

The Phase Two Transportation Improvement projects are presently considered “medium priority” by the residents of Deering and may be constructed between years 2015 to 2020. Presented below is a prioritized list of the recommended improvements during this phase.

1. Improve docking for barges: Construct dock that extends 50-feet into Kotzebue Sound to provide safer loading and unloading from barges.

2. Inmachuk River access: This project will result in improved access to the boat landing area along the river bank. This project will include construction of an access road and parking area.

3. Improve access to Dredge No. 1: The first dredge along the Deering Road has historical significance. Access to this site would be promoted for tourism. The road is approximately 0.5 miles.

4. Chicago Creek Road: This project will consist of constructing a year-round vehicular road to Chicago Creek mining area. The road will begin at Mile 26 of Deering Road (Route 2500) and end at the mining area. The rout will be along gently sloping hills and require several creek crossings.

6.4         Phase Three Transportation Improvements

The Phase Three Transportation Improvement projects are presently considered “low priority” by the residents of Deering and should be constructed between years 2020 to 2030. Presented below is a prioritized list of the recommended improvements during this phase.

1. Runway extension: Extend the existing runway to 4,000-feet allow larger aircraft to land in Deering.

2. Inmachuk Springs Road: This project will consist of constructing a 38-mile road to Inmachuk Springs for bird-sighting. This will aide in development of eco-tourism within the community and offer additional summertime employment.

3. Airport Waiting Facility: This project will consist of a shelter at the airport to protect visitors and residents while waiting for airplanes.

7.0      Planning, Design, and Construction Considerations

7.1         Site Control

Site control is required to obtain an enforceable right to use a parcel of land. This right must be in writing. A deed, lease, or easement is the most common form of written authorization to use land. New right-of-way easements will be required for the following transportation improvements:

  • West Airport Road
  • Beach Road
  • New Route and ROW west of Native Store (Second Avenue)
  • New Route and ROW east of Native Store (Third Avenue)
  • New Route and ROW east of Gilbert Barr’s home (Fourth Avenue). This parcel is presently a vacant lot.

7.2         Permitting and Regulatory Requirements

The permitting and regulatory requirements depend somewhat on the location of the project and the funding agency. Local roads may be constructed in accordance with Borough standards, but must meet State environmental permitting requirements. Roads funded by the State DOT&PF are typically designed and constructed in accordance with the DOT&PF standards. The following permitting and regulatory requirements should be planned:

  • Legal Right-of-Way to the constructed facilities
  • Environmental Assessment – meets the requirements of NEPA. This document will address the requirements of the following:
  • Wetlands permitting
  • Historical properties
  • Endangered Species
  • Coast Zone Management Act: Prior to any construction in Deering a Coastal Project Questionnaire and Certification Statement must be completed.
  • Storm Water Pollution Prevent Plan (SWPPP)
  • Construction approval from ADEC and EPA
  • Material agreement with NANA for gravel extraction and use
  • Department of Natural Resources approval for construction in the Kotzebue Sound (dock)
  • Alaska Department of Fish & Game, Fish Habitat Permit – for construction within Kotzebue Sound (dock) and construction within normal high water mark of Inmachuk River.
  • Northwest Arctic Borough Title 9 Code of Regulations.

7.3         Equipment and Materials

Presented below is a listing of equipment and materials that are typically used to construct, operate, and maintain low-volume gravel roads.

Equipment/ Materials

Use

Loader

Shovels and loads borrow material into trucks for transportation

Dump truck

Transports borrow material from source to project site

Excavator

Dredge river coves, excavate borrow material from gravel site

Dozer

Effectively spreads material and compacts soils. Used for landfill compaction

Grader

Used to grade roads for smoother traveling

Equipment/ Materials

Use

Geotextile fabric

Used to reinforce the structure foundation of roads. Common products include Amoco and Propex

Board insulation

Used to insulate the ground where permafrost is present

Culverts

Used to divert water under roadway thereby preventing erosion. Various sizes will be required. Either galvanized metal or HDPE.

Sprayer

Used exclusively for spraying dust control agent onto roads and runway. A common supplier is Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.

Dust inhibitor

Apply onto roads for dust control. Common products include: (1) Durasoil by Soilworks, LLC, and (2) Liquid Dust Control Enviroseal LDC PLUS 12™

Classified fill

Replace road bedding and surface course, gravel pads, utility bedding, and airport runway maintenance

Snow Fencing and metal posts

Polyethylene Barrier Fence, Safety, Bright Orange, Mesh Size 1 3/4 In X 1 3/4 In, Height 48 In., Length 100 Ft., Includes Breaking Strength 185 Lbs per Ft

7.4         Cost Considerations

7.4.1      Cost summary

Presented below is a conceptual cost estimate for the proposed projects. The estimate takes into consideration the short construction season and the high cost of labor and materials associated with construction in rural Alaska. The estimate does not take into account the regional cost difference within Alaska. Furthermore, cost estimates are sensitive to project-specific conditions and should be refined if the project advances beyond the conceptual level presented in this plan.

Improvement

Approximate Cost

West Airport Road

$1,500,000

Equipment garage

$900,000

Cape Deceit Road improvements

$1,750,000

7.4.2    Potential funding sources

Some potential sources of full or partial funding for future projects include:

  • Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Capital Matching Grants
  • BIA IRR Program
  • Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC)
  • Denali Commission
  • DOT&PF, State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
  • Community Development Block Grants
See Appendix D for agency listing and addresses.

7.5         Implementation Plan

The Implementation Plan (IP) is an essential part of the planning process. The IP specifies the project tasks, timeline, and responsible person(s). This provides a useful way of tracking progress and increases the likelihood of success. The implementation plan for the Long-Range Transportation Plan is separated into three phases and presented below in Table 11, Table 12, and Table 13.

Table 11: Phase One Implementation Plan (2010-2015)

Problem

Solution(s)

Step-by-step approach

Start & finish

date

Person(s)

responsible

Financing

method

1.1: Excessive dust increases health risks to residents, especially to the children and elderly. Increased rate of asthma in Alaskan villages attributed to dusty roads.

Summer (June – August) application of dust palliative to selected roads.

Identify and procure labor and equipment for

application of spray

 

 

 

Procure dust palliative and application

equipment (or services)

 

 

Schedule spray activity and educate residents on

spray process

 

 

Spray roads for dust control

 

 

1.2: Access to airport via Deering Road is blocked during high floods.

Construct alternate airport road from west side of town center. This road will cross Smith Creek and provide year-round travel to and from the airport

Site survey and control established

 

 

 

Develop civil design drawings and establish cost

estimate and priorities

 

 

Order materials as needed

 

 

Construct improvements using local labor and

resources

 

 

1.3: Heavy equipment used by tribe for winter road maintenance has no heated garage.

Construct heated garage for loader and grader.

Site selection and site control

 

 

 

Obtain funding for design and construction

 

 

Design facility

 

 

Construct facility

 

 

1.4: Cape Deceit Road west of the tank farm is failing due to permafrost degradation and poor drainage.

Repair foundation, install culverts, install insulation and fill where necessary.

Procure civil design services

 

 

 

Develop civil design drawings and establish cost

estimate and priorities

 

 

Order materials as needed

 

 

Construct improvement using local labor and

resources

 

 

1.5: Deering Road is being eroded by the Inmachuk River and needs additional drainage improvements. The road will require re-routing in some areas due to significant erosion and flooding problems.

Repair foundation, install culverts, install insulation and fill where necessary. Install armor rock to prevent erosion from river.

Acquire applicable permits for gravel extraction

and construction

 

 

 

Submit funding applications and secure funding

for improvements and construction

 

 

Develop final improvement documents,

including permitting and site control

 

 

Procure construction services

 

 

Construct improvements to Deering Rd

 

 

Table 12: Phase Two Implementation Plan (2016 2020)

Problem

Solution(s)

Step-by-step approach

Start & finish

date

Person(s)

responsible

Financing

method

2.1: No year-round vehicular access to Chicago Creek area for subsistence and mining activities (will first require improvement to Deering Road).

Improve Chicago Creek Road.

Procure civil design services

 

 

 

Develop civil design drawings and establish cost estimate and priorities

 

 

Order materials as needed

 

 

Construct improvements using local labor and resources

 

 

2.2: The Inmachuk River docking area is difficult to access.

Construct gravel road to provide vehicular access and parking.

Use BIA road maintenance funds

 

 

 

Develop plan

 

 

Order materials as needed

 

 

Perform construction

 

 

2.3: Shallow shore along Kotzebue Sound requires off shore barge docking. This increase the work and risk of off loading equipment and supplies.

Construct dock that extends 50- feet into Kotzebue Sound in vicinity of fuel tank farm.

Use BIA road maintenance funds

 

 

 

Develop plan

 

 

Order materials as needed

 

 

Perform construction

 

 

2.4: No vehicular access to Dredge No. 1 along Deering Road.

Improve 0.5 section mile of access road from Deering Road to dredge.

Site survey and control established

 

 

 

Develop civil design drawings and establish cost

estimate and priorities

 

 

Order materials as needed

 

 

Construct improvements using local labor and

resources

 

 

 Table 13: Phase Three Implementation Plan(2021-2030)

Problem

Solution(s)

Step-by-step approach

Start & finish

date

Person(s)

responsible

Financing

method

3.1: No access to Inmachuk Springs and bird sighting area.

Construct new roads — This project would include a 38-mile road suitable for two-way traffic.

Procure civil design services

 

 

 

Develop civil design drawings and establish cost estimate and priorities

 

 

Order materials as needed

 

 

Construct improvement using local labor and resources

 

 

3.2: Airport runway is too short (3300 feet) to allow larger and heavier aircraft into Deering.

Extend airport runway to 4000 feet.

Submit formal request to DOT&PF

 

 

 

Apply for funds through FAA

 

 

Develop design, including permitting and survey

 

 

Construct extension

 

 

3.3: No airport waiting facility causes people to wait in cold or wet weather for airplanes.

Construct lighted and heated facility with seating for twelve.

Submit formal request to DOT&PF

 

 

 

Apply for funds through FAA

 

 

Develop design, including permitting and survey

 

 

Construct extension

 

 

 

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