City of Bethel to request funding for design and construction of Donut Hole Road

The City of Bethel will soon have a new road through the Donut Hole, if the proposed project is funded.

The Bethel City Council will be introducing a resolution that supports the City of Bethel application to the Community Transportation Program to fund the Donut Hole Road Project during their regular meeting on February 14th, 2023.

Bethel is shaped like a donut with a hole in the middle and there are no roads going through this “donut hole”. This term was coined years ago and has become a part of Bethel’s geographical expressions.

Resolution 23-02 defines the proposed Donut Hole Road as 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 proposed north-south Donut Hole road will be bisected by an extension of Akiachak Avenue in City Sub, which will provide a direct route from either direction to the YK Fitness Center and Yuut Elitnarviat-The People’s Learning Center, according to the resolution.

“The new road will improve accessibility and reduce transportation cost from the Tundra Ridge Subdivision, Uivuk Subdivision, and those living on Ptarmigan Street to City Center, the Post Office, and Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation facilities,” the resolution states.

the city estimates the cost to design and construct the donut hole road to be $11,000,000 ($1,000,000 for design and $10,000,000 for construction), but a DOT&PF engineer cost estimate will be used to determine the City’s match requirement.

The Donut Hole Road passes by the Ciulkulek Subdivision, the subdivision being developed by the Orutsararmiut Native Council, the Tribe in Bethel, as it begins from Chief Eddie Hoffman Highway and heads north to the connection to Akiachak Avenue in City Sub.

The City’s required match is 9.03% of the total cost ($11,000,000) or $993,300, and the City pledges to provide this amount for the project, as stated in Res 23-02.

Furthermore, the City commits to operate and maintain the Donut Hole Road in perpetuity, once completed in 3-4 years and ready for use.

In the summer of 2023, the City of Bethel plans to demonstrate the use of a new emulsifier on one mile of gravel road and if the use of this emulsifier proves successful, the City plans to incorporate it into the maintenance of the Donut Hole Road as an innovative binding agent for gravel and sand in Bethel.

The resolution, if passed, solidifies the City of Bethel’s support for the development and submittal of a Community Transportation Program (CTP) application to request funding for design and construction of the Donut Hole Road in Bethel.

“If the project is funded, the City commits to operate and maintain the Donut Hole Road with all of the personnel, equipment, and materials it deems necessary so that the public may enjoy the use of the road for the foreseeable future,” concludes the resolution.

Resolution 23-02 is sponsored by City Manager Pete Williams.