The state of Alaska issued an RFP this morning for an environmental impact statement for the Colville River Road project. The 18 mile road will connect the oil and gas leases in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska with the North Slope road system by extending the Spine Road that runs through the Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk River fields west across the Colville River.
The project also includes a connecting road to the village of Nuiqsut.
The Northern Region office of the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said it expects the EIS to cost “in the range of $1 million or greater.”
The project “is the result of a two-year investigation of northern Alaska resource development opportunities and the transportation infrastructure needed to make the developments feasible,” the department said.
The need to improve access to oil and gas leases in NPR-A was determined to be the “most important investment” the state could make to promote resource development for Alaska’s economy.
Recent reductions in the North Slope ice road season and “a new generation of international oil and gas exploration opportunities combine to make all-season access important to continued development of North Slope oil and gas resources,” the department said.
“A bridge location was selected based on investigation of four possible crossing sites. The proposed crossing is closest to the most active zones of development. The project will also include opening of one or two new material sites in the area.”
The department said there are still concerns about security and the operational aspects of using the Spine Road as an arterial route to access NPR-A.
The state has made a commitment to oil industry representatives that “the design process will include security and operations management plans … to ensure that security and operations are not adversely affected by the new road.”