Bethel City council votes to support application for funding for Donut Hole Road design and construction

by Greg Lincoln

The Bethel City Council passed a resolution that supports the City of Bethel’s Community Transportation Program (CTP) application to request funding for design and construction of the Donut Hole Road in Bethel. The estimated cost by the Department of Transportation is $12,487,500.

The proposed Donut Hole Road is a gravel road that will begin at the Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway and extend north through many city easements in a nearly straight path to Ptarmigan Street.

The north-south road will be bisected by an extension of Akiachak Avenue, which will provide a direct route from either direction to the YK Fitness Center and Yuut Elitnarviat-The People’s Learning Center.

The Donut Hole Road proposed road passes by the Ciulkulek Subdivision, the subdivision being developed by the Orutsararmiut Native Council as it begins from Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway and heads north to the connection to Akiachak Ave.

Resolution 23-07, which passed on council’s May 9th, 2023 meeting’s consent agenda states that if the project is funded, the City commits to providing a $1,252,497 in cash match for the project and to operate and maintain the Donut Hole Road with all the personnel, equipment, and materials it deems necessary so that the public may enjoy the use of the road for the foreseeable future.

The State of Alaska, Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF), Division of Program Development & Statewide Planning, is currently soliciting road project nominations through the Community Transportation Program for inclusion in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP) according to Res. 23-07.

The CTP application requires Resolution #23-02 that was approved on February 14, 2023 to be updated for its road project and the city commitments contained therein. The City of Bethel is eligible to apply for this opportunity and has the support for this project from DOT’s Acting Central Regional Planner, Philana Miles.

Completion of the Donut Hole Road will provide a convenient north-south local road to help move vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians on the east side of town easier, quicker, and safer than the use of Akakeek Street or Ridgecrest Drive.

The Donut Hole Road project application passed the first two DOT&PF screens and will be evaluated and scored by the Project Evaluation Board at the end of May 2023. The City commits to operate and maintain the Donut Hole Road in perpetuity, once completed in 4 years and ready for use, according to the resolution.