In summer there it sits, a brown-gray smudge on the green Knik Arm shoreline across from bustling urban Anchorage. In winter from the Coastal Trail, it’s a cluster of lights blinking across the shifting Cook Inlet pan ice.
That is Port MacKenzie and it belongs to the Mat-Su Borough. For more than a decade, the borough has been nudging it toward a viable marine deep-water port. If you like to watch big, industrial efforts underway, check out their website for short borough videos marking milestones, like giant cranes lifting 12-packs of cement bags from the belly of a ship, or yellow graders shoving dirt to smooth the way for rail and truck transit into and out of the port.
And Port MacKenzie has big ambitions. They include a rail extension connecting it to the Alaska Railroad’s main line and Interior Alaska, the icebreaking catamaran MV Susitna plying challenging Cook Inlet conditions, and a bridge connecting this port with the still-expanding but aging Port of Anchorage.
This makes Port MacKenzie a potential critical hub of commercial activity, and at the crux of some of the hottest public policy issues simmering in Southcentral – a bridge some think is premature and financially unviable, and the port as likely export site for Mat-Su coal deposits at Wishbone Hill, should they be developed.
What is its relationship to the growing but aging and land-locked Port of Anchorage? Is it an about-to-open bud of Southcentral’s and Alaska’s economic growth spurt? Or is it all a dream never to come true, as in ‘we built it, but they never came?’
Bring your questions, curiosity and concern to Hometown Alaska when host Kathleen McCoy and Port Director Marc Van Dongen bring Port MacKenzie’s story up to date.
- Port MacKenzie website
- MV Susitna website
- Port MacKenzie Rail Extension website
- Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority (KABATA) website
- You Tube: Unloading cement, Sept. 4, 2010
- You Tube: Preparing the Bimodal Loop, Aug. 12, 2010
- Usibelli tests export possibilities, Peninsula Clarion, June 24, 2010
- ISER: Benefits of the Cook Inlet Ferry to the Municipality of Anchorage, (PDF)
The following links point to Anchorage Daily News stories in the Newsbank database; sign in with your Loussac Library card to read:
- Port MacKenzie Rail Extension would spur local and state economies, March 6, 2012
- Mat-Su coal mines would be bad neighbors, Feb. 7, 2012
- Knik bridge seems tentative at best, Feb. 2, 2012
- Mat-Su ponders what to do with problematic ferry; sell it or store it?, Sept. 1, 2011
- 2 ports, 0 landings: Nearly 10 years of negotiations have failed to secure an Anchorage dock, May 9, 2011
- Which port serves Alaska best? No one knows, June 21, 2010
- Clamoring for coal-High demand also raises opposition for development boon for Alaska export, Dec, 26, 2010
- Growing shoal near port narrowing navigation channel, May 16, 2010
- China connection-Ship brings tons of cement to valley, Sept. 30, 2009
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HOST: Kathleen McCoy
- Marc Van Dongen, Port MacKenzie director
LIVE broadcast: Wednesday, March 18, 2012. 2:00 – 3:00 pm (Alaska time)
REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, March 18, 2012. 7:00 – 8:00 pm (Alaska time)
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