View of mountains surrounding Whittier with the town covered below in a blanket of fog.

Shotgun Cove Road

Background

A road from Whittier to Shotgun Cove has been explored for decades with the goal of expanding development opportunities and accessing protected waters further east. The State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) developed a preliminary design towards that end in 1984. A decade later, much of the land along the shoreline between Whittier and Shotgun Cove was transferred from the State of Alaska to the City of Whittier (City). The transfer included the stipulations that the City develop a road right-of-way and prepare adjacent lands for public sale. In the early 2000’s the City began work to design 2 miles of road along an existing pioneer alignment terminating at Second Salmon Run, which was constructed between 2006 and 2019.

In 2017 the City obtained grant funding from the Federal Land Access Program (FLAP) for the permitting and design of 2.5 miles of road: from Second Salmon Run, through the land transferred by the State of Alaska, terminating at United States Forest Service (USFS) land at Trinity Point. The FLAP application identified two main objectives for this project: 1) increase resource access and 2) improve regional transportation systems.

Current Project Status

The City engaged CRW Engineering Group, LLC (CRW) for engineering services to evaluate road alignment and land development options and provide a detailed design for phased construction of the Shotgun Cove Road Extension, Mile 2.0 to 4.5. CRW is currently developing the 65% design level, having completed the Draft DSR in 2018 and selected a preferred alignment earlier this year. Design is funded and will be completed by November 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin by mid-2021 and could be completed over the next 5-10 years (subject to funding).

Given the goals of the FLAP grant and the conditions of the original land transfer, this design effort is focused on providing optimum access to USFS land at Trinity Point while anticipating potential future extension of the road all the way to Shotgun Cove. The project team has collaborated closely with the USFS to terminate the road on Forest Service land, to facilitate future recreation facilities and water access. The USFS also received separate funding for the development of a Trinity Point Master Plan concurrent to this design. In addition, the Shotgun Cove Road Extension design also considers land development opportunities along the corridor and potential access to State and Federal lands further uphill, expanding year-round recreational opportunities for a variety of users.

Cost Estimates & Funding Status

Design
2016 FLAP – Shotgun Cove Road Extension $2.2M Funded
($0.7M) Expended
$1.5M Remaining
Construction
Western Federal Lands Construction Funding $1.45M Remaining
2019 FLAP – Shotgun Cove Road Extension Construction  * Requires $250k match  $2.5M *Pending
Shotgun Cove Road Extension Construction Estimate     ($25.0 M) Total
Total
$21.05 M  Required

Summary

Partners

  • State of Alaska
  • USFS
  • Chugach Alaska Corp.

Recreational Opportunities

  • 45 acres of potential public land
  • 12 potential public parcels
  • 10 parking areas, including 1 on USFS land and 3 with direct access to State land
  • 10 beaches and tidal areas, 2 with road access for kayaking and non-motorized craft
  • 8-10 miles of potential hiking and back-country skiing trails on State land
  • 2 salmon estuaries expanding land-based fishing opportunities
  • Abundant opportunities for scenic views and mooring water craft

Residential Development

  • 140 acres of residential parcels
  • 97 conceptual parcels