The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and Kinney Engineering held a well-attended meeting on January 26, 2023, at the Carlson Center. Over 100 people participated, both in the room and online, and at least 27 of those gave public comment (we don’t have the total count of written comments). It quickly became apparent that the overwhelming majority of folks were against the Kinross trucking plan. Two people in the room testified for it. A wide variety of issues were brought up including: noise and vibration, school bus stops, road safety, maintenance costs to the state, quality of life, clean air, the intersection of roads and driveways with the truck route, bridge conditions, the negative impact on tourism, combining ore trucks and military convoys on the Richardson highway, stopping distance of the ore trucks, the safety of the ore truck configuration, property value declines and the fact that more of these kinds of gold ore hauls are being planned after Manh Choh. A written comment from ASAH pointed out that portions of the route are not actually designated for industrial use per state regulations (see earlier post regarding this). Several people questioned why an ore processing mill close to the mine couldn’t be built, to eliminate the long ore haul, even if the state had to assist with the cost. One man noted that mining and truck driving jobs are not what today’s young people are looking for nor what will keep or attract them here. Everyone who signed up for public comment was given an opportunity to speak, causing the meeting to run long and the agenda to be modified.
Randy Kinney of Kinney Engineering explained that the Corridor Study is going to be done in two phases. Phase one will look at the first 5- and 10-year timeframes and phase two will look at longer range (20 year) issues. The final report from phase one (which includes the Manh Choh ore haul) is scheduled to be completed in August of this year. More public meetings will be scheduled before then including in Tok and Delta Junction. ASAH will keep you informed of when these are coming up so that you can plan to attend and participate.
ASAH would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this meeting and to the Department of Transportation for hosting it. The message was sent, loud and clear: the public is not in favor of this trucking plan. If you were unable to make the January 26 meeting, a recording of the proceedings is available here.