Murkowski Secures Funding for Excursion Inlet Bridge

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, this week announced that an agreement has been reached to pave the way for repairs of a key bridge at Excursion Inlet, which is necessary to help maintain operations of the salmon cannery at Excursion Inlet.

The U.S. Forest Service was able to source bridge components currently in stock from the Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest and will arrange to barge them to Southeast to facilitate repair of the bridge in an expedited manner.

“I thank the Haines Borough for agreeing to assume ownership of the bridge after repairs are complete, and thank the Forest Service for their hard work to structure the bridge replacement agreement,” Murkowski said. “Fixing this bridge is vital to helping the Excursion Inlet cannery maintain its operations and promote the quality processing of Alaska salmon from Lynn Canal, Cross Sound, Icy Strait and the entire Fairweather grounds, in addition to assisting job creation in the area. This is the best possible outcome for northern Southeast fishermen and residents.”

In late winter, the Forest Service determined that the bridge’s main support beam had failed and declared it unsafe for traffic. That road closure threatens the future operation of the seafood cannery, whose water source is located on the south side of the bridge, toward Neva Lake, which is a popular recreation site for inlet residents. This agreement should allow the cannery, which pays taxes to the Haines Borough, to continue processing operations this year and into the future.

This spring, during an Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Murkowski urged Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to prioritize repair of the bridge to protect economic activities in the Haines Borough.

The Forest Service is committed to moving quickly to award contracts for the transport and demolition of the existing bridge and the construction of the new bridge before the end of this fiscal year on September 30. Once the new bridge is in place, the Forest Service will turn over the repaired bridge across Neva Creek to the Haines Borough for future maintenance and operation.

Murkowski is chairman of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee.