Work begins on Kivalina evacuation, school site access road

Kivalina, Alaska. Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

Construction of a seven-mile evacuation and school site access road project is under way in the northwest Alaska coastal community of Kivalina.

Equipment, fuel and supplies arrived by barge in September for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities project.

“Upon this moment lies the future well-being of our people,” said Stanley Hawley, tribal administrator for the Native Village of Kivalina. Hawley spoke to the urgency of this project in the face of increased erosion and sea storm intensity.

The project goal is to increase community resilience by constructing a safe, reliable, all-season evacuation road between Kivalina and Kisimigiuqtuq Hill that residents will be able to use in the event of a catastrophic storm or ocean surge. The road will be constructed with local material at an estimated cost of $2.5 million per mile. The project also calls for construction of a 3,200-foot lagoon crossing that will connect the barrier island community to the mainland at an estimated cost of $25 million.

The construction project came about through a team approach involving DOT&PF, the Federal Highway Administration, the Northwest Arctic Borough, the Native Village of Kivalina, the city of Kivalina, NANA Regional Corp., and other permitting ad stakeholder agencies.

Gov. Bill Walker said he heard first-hand from residents during a visit to Kivalina about the importance of this road.


“We made a promise to the people of Kivalina to support them as they looked for solutions to build a safe reliable future for their school – and their community. As Alaskans continue to experience the impacts of coastal erosion and climate change, it’s our responsibility to step up and help.”