General Description

1.0 General Description

1.1 Location

The territorial jurisdiction of the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe of Sand Point extends from the south end of Kodiak Island (50.60 N. Latitude 254.50 W. Longitude) to the end of the Aleutian Chain (53 N. Latitude 172.50 E. Longitude).  The Village of Sand Point is a first-class city located 570 air miles southwest of Anchorage on Popof Island, in the Shumagin Islands, along the Alaska Peninsula. Located on Humboldt Harbor on Popof Island, the area encompasses 7.8 square miles of land and 21.1 square miles of coast line.  The community is approximately 55 degrees, 20 minutes North, and 160 degrees, 30 minutes West.  
The current population of Sand Point is 990, the majority of which are Alaska Native/ Native American.  The population increases during fishing seasons due to the arrival of fishermen and cannery workers. The economic base of the community and region, and economic survival of the community and region is solely dependent on the fisheries.

1.2 Background

The Qagan Tayagungin Tribe of Sand Point became recognized as a federal tribe in 1992.  The Qagan Tayagungin Tribal (QTT) Council consists of seven council members and is the federally recognized governing body of the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe of Sand Point, Alaska. The purpose of the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe is to provide for the self-government and quality of life for our membership through social, economic, education, health and cultural services and programs. The Qagan Tayagungin Tribe is committed to the preservation of the natural resources of the Shumagin Islands and has the responsibility and authority to establish relationships and enter into contracts for the improved health and wellbeing of the Tribe and its citizens.
Sand Point was established in 1887 when a San Francisco based fishing company began operating a station on Popof Island.  The station was primarily used as a trading post, a salmon fishing station, and a supply post for cod fishing.  A post office was constructed in 1891.  Sand Point was incorporated as a first class city in 1978.  The Aleutians East Borough was organized as a second class borough in 1987, and includes the City of Sand Point within its jurisdiction.  
1.3 Infrastructure

In 2012, the City of Sand Point contained 246 residential households.  The community also contained a school, a grocery store, toy store, and various other small stores, two churches, a motel, a bed and breakfast, several apartment buildings, a post office, fishing gear storage areas, health clinic, municipality building, Fish and Game office, city Taxi business, an electrical utility, three Tribal offices, and native corporation offices.   
All residential and nonresidential buildings in the City are connected to electrical, water and sewage distribution systems.  The community draws its water from Humbolt Creek.  The water is treated in a new water treatment facility GET INFORMTION FROM CITY.  The city is also served by a sewage collection system consisting of two lift stations, a treatment plant, and a 1,000-foot ocean outfall line.  The Meadows Subdivision is equipped with its own treatment/outfall system.  A city-owned compactor type refuse vehicle collects Sand Point’s solid waste and hauls it to a landfill northeast of the city.  

1.4 Soils and Topography

The City of Sand Point is situated on Popof Island in Popof Strait, a part of the Shumagin Island group of fifteen sizable islands and numerous smaller islands and rocks.  Popof Island is located along, and is geologically related to the Alaska Peninsula which was formed by volcanism and uplifting of the sea floor.  Soils on the island are generally characterized as well-drained dark soils formed by fine volcanic ash.  The terrain is generally precipitous with slopes typically exceeding 12 percent.  The predominant vegetation surrounding Sand Point is a high brush type of forestation which is dominated by dense thickets of willow, alder, and birch.  The underbrush consists of a mixture of lower shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.  

1.5 Climate
Sand Point lies within the Maritime Climatic Zone of Alaska.  This zone is dominated by the effects of a marine environment and is characterized by high humidity, precipitation and fog cover, as well as warm winters and cool summers.  The temperature averages ranging from −9 to 76 °F (-23 to 24 °C), an average snowfall of 52 inches (130 cm) and an average rainfall of 33 inches (84 cm)
The following climatic data was interpolated from Wikipedia and is applicable to the project area:
  • Mean Annual Precipitation, inches:  44.68
  • Mean Annual Snowfall, inches: 12.9
  • Mean Annual Temperature, degrees F: 40

2.0 Regulations and Master Planning of Transportation Improvements

2.1 Land Use Regulations

As a first class city, the City of Sand Point has general financial, administrative, and legal powers.  Sand Point is located within the Aleutians East Borough.  Land ownership on Popof Island is a mix of City, Corporation, and Private land ownership.  BIA-sponsored road projects within the community are subject to appropriate Federal, State, and Borough regulations as well as approval by City of Sand Point Administration.  

2.2    Comprehensive Planning

The Qagan Tayagungin Tribe completed a Long Range Transportation plan (LRTP) in 2005, and updated it in 2013.  The City of Sand Point conducted a Comprehensive Community Development Plan (CCDP) in 2004.  The Tribe’s LRTP and the City’s CCDP both addressed the road systems in the community of Sand Point.  The City’s CCDP references an Aleutians East Borough Transportation Improvement Program from 2001 which identified habilitating and repaving existing gravel roads in the community and continued maintenance and repair of existing paved surfaces.  The City of Sand Point CCDP supported this.  During a strategic planning session held by the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe’s Environmental Department in 2012, paving of the gravel roads in the community was the preferred solution to address the dust/air quality issues in the community.  The Tribal Council met in March of 2013 to prioritize the routes in the community for the purpose of the Long Range Transportation Plan.  

3.0    Existing Transportation System

The Qagan Tayagungin Tribe, and City of Sand Point are accessible by air and water.  The community is equipped with a 4,000 foot asphalt/grooved runway.  Barge services deliver all the communities fuel and most of the freight.  The main barge company with service to Sand Point is Coastal Transportation.  The boardwalk system, funded by the State, was constructed in 1985, and serves the downtown portion of the community.  

3.1    Community Road System

3.1.1    Community Road Map

A Strip map of the routes in Sand Point is presented in appendix 1.  These maps were developed by the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe for the 2013 Long Range Transportation Plan.  

3.1.2    Right of Way and Road Ownership

All roads within Sand Point are presumed to be owned by the Municipality, the City of Sand Point.  Dedicated right-of-way corridors have been established and appears to generally contain the roadways, although the widths of these corridors are unknown.

3.1.3    Geometric Elements

The majority of the roadways within the newer sections of town were constructed with the benefit of alignment design.  Most roads are more than 20 feet wide, and can support two-way traffic relatively safely.  

3.2    Existing Structural Characteristics

3.2.1    Surface and Subbase Material

It is assumed most unpaved roads in the community were constructed of a gravel surface course overlaying an embankment material consisting of a composite of silt, sand, and gravel.  Unpaved roadways regularly experience rutting and subsidence problems, especially in the spring.  Paved roads in the community have been engineered to meet the standards at the time they were built.  The road the dump is not paved, but its construction did follow a formal engineering process.  

3.2.2    Drainage

Roadway drainage is primarily accomplished through the utilization of cross culverts.  This drainage system often encounters problems resulting in runoff not being properly diverted from road structures, resulting in rutting and subsidence problems.  

3.2.3    Bridges

Presently there is a pedestrian bridge which crosses the Humbolt Slough to the Boat Harbor, and a bridge to accommodate vehicles, also crossing over the Humbolt slough.  The bridge, Qagan Tayagungin Tribe bridge number E424 was most recently modified in 2012 when the sections on either side of the bridge were paved.  

3.3    User Characteristics

3.3.1    Community Vehicle Inventory

During a rough count of vehicles in the community, the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe counted at least 358 vehicles, and 74 all-terrain bikes.  We believe this count may be low and additional vehicles may have been missed during the count.  The City of Sand Point reports there are 4 dump trucks, 2 graders, a front end loader, and a sand truck with plow available for local maintenance and construction projects.  

3.3.2    Trip Generators

Sand Point has a well-developed road network.  The primary trip generators within the community are the commercial stores, restaurants, the school, U.S. Post office, airport, and boat harbor.  

3.4    Maintenance

3.4.1    Responsible Agencies

The City of Sand Point maintains local roads.  They have access to 8 pieces of heavy equipment to perform this maintenance.  

3.4.2    Maintenance Budgets and Funding Sources

3.5    Construction Material Sources

There are two rock quarries located on Popof Island.  Both are owned by Shumagin Corporation.  One of the quarries is located adjacent to the harbor, and is known as the Knoll Quarry.  Note:  Some Corps of Engineers documents mistakenly refer to this quarry as the Dome Quarry.  The second quarry is the Red Cove Dome Quarry, and is located near the present landfill site.  A map showing the locations of both quarries is available from Shumagin Corporation.  The Aleut Corporation owns the subsurface rights to both of these quarries, and has contractually delegated management of these quarries to the Shumagin Corporation.  Any use of the quarries required payment by the bank cubic yard.  

The Knoll quarry appears to be an excellent source for armor rock.  The Red Cove Dome quarry appears to be an excellent source for smaller rock.  

4.0    Roadway Facility Needs

4.1    Road Construction Projects

During the March 20, 2013 meeting of the Qagan Tayagungin Tribal Council, the council approved the Priority List of transportation projects included in the 2013 Long Range Transportation Plan.  The number one project on this list is the pavement of route 3, the Boat Harbor Road.  The second major project on the priority list is addressing the safety needs of route 1002, the Dump Road, in order to have the City of Sand Point finally sign off on the road and assume maintenance responsibilities.   The following priorities are to pursue paving of the remaining routes in the Community of Sand Point, and addressing maintenance needs.  

4.2    Priority Project Description

For the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe’s number one priority, the paving of the boat harbor road, the Qagan Tayagungin Tribe has already completed the engineering and design of this project in 2012.  The tribe is currently waiting on the final easement from the State of Alaska, and funding to pursue its construction.  Cost estimates developed by the engineer in 2012 put the paving of this route at about $2,055,250.00.

For the Tribe’s second priority, the safety modifications of route 1002, the Tribe has received a transportation contract for approximately $1.4 million to pursue this project.  When the project went to bid in 2011, the lowest bid came in at over $3 million.  The Tribe attempted to work with the contractor and BIA engineers to see if modifications to the scope of work could bring the cost of the project within an attainable range of the contract unsuccessfully.  Currently the tribe is working with the City of Sand Point to attempt to work with the BIA and FHWA to see if we can come to another solution for this road.