Welcome to the McCarthy Road
Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL)
The Federal Highway Administration - Western Federal Lands (WFL) Highway Division, in partnership with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) and the National Park Service (NPS), are working together to conduct a corridor study along the McCarthy Road. The study corridor extends 60 miles from the eastern end of Chitina to the Kennicott River, and another four miles to the southern end of the Kennicott subdivision (before the Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark).
Project No. AK FLAP DOT 198(4)
McCarthy Road Fast Facts
PEL Study Process
Over the years, local residents and visitors to the corridor and Park have provided feedback that emphasizes the need to evaluate the reliability of access and public safety. The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) and National Park Service (NPS) joined together to obtain funds through the Federal Lands Access Program to prepare this study.
Public and stakeholder involvement will be integrated throughout the PEL process. Stakeholders, such as the DOT&PF, Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Native groups, local businesses, and the public will come together to identify current and future needs within the study area.
Through a PEL process, this study will assess existing opportunities along the McCarthy Road; identify and evaluate potential transportation and access improvements; and propose recommendations for future implementation.
The PEL framework encourages decision-makers to incorporate environmental considerations, community, and economic goals early in the transportation planning process. PELs are intended to better link the planning and environmental review phases; therefore, products produced during this PEL study may be incorporated by reference during a subsequent environmental review process.
Study Purpose and Goals
The purpose of the study is to provide a framework for implementing future transportation improvements. A PEL study moves our ideas from the planning process more directly into the environmental review process.
PEL Study outcomes and goals:
A process that brings together stakeholders and users of the McCarthy Road to improve communication and build collaboration for identifying transportation and access needs.
A documented framework that identifies a list of prioritized transportation and access projects along the McCarthy Road and creates a plan for future implementation of those projects.
The PEL Study started in Summer 2023 and will be completed in Summer 2025. The PEL process and study will be conducted in consultation with Native organizations, the public, stakeholders, and federal and state resource agencies.
Project Advisory Committee (PAC) Formation
Project Advisory Committee (PAC) Formation: The McCarthy Road PAC will meet throughout the study to provide guidance input. The PAC consists of representatives from DOT&PF, NPS, Native Village of Chitina, Alaska Native Corporations, local residents, and organizations representing tourism, economic development, and regional planning organizations.
Public meetings will be held during three main phases of the study:
- Assessing needs and opportunities (Meeting #1 – Late 2023)
- Developing conceptual improvement options (Meeting #2 – Summer 2024)
- Preparing the PEL Study and draft recommendations (Meeting #3 – Spring 2025)
PEL study documentation prepared throughout the process.
Please use this form to add your name to the mailing list and/or submit your comments and questions about the McCarthy Road PEL Study. To send a comment letter, or share reports, photos, or data, feel free to email [email protected] directly.
All comments received will be part of the public record with the names and email addresses from the public redacted.
Federal Highway Administration – Western Federal Lands, Highway Division
Seth English-Young, Planning Team Lead
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
Paul Eckman, DOT&PF Northern Region Design Engineer
National Park Service
Joshua Scott, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve Chief of Lands & Planning
Leslie Robbins, Project Manager
Kim Wetzel, Public Involvement Lead