Mat-Su Borough, AIDEA sign West Susitna access project agreement

A view of the Little Susitna River, looking west. (Photo by Stefan Hinman/Matanuska-Susitna Borough)

The Matanuska-Susitna Borough and a state-owned corporation have signed a memorandum of understanding that could lead to feasibility studies for development west of the Susitna River.

Last Friday, the borough announced the agreement with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, or AIDEA. Under the terms of the agreement, the borough and AIDEA would each contribute up to $50,000 for feasibility studies, provided a third party is willing to also contribute toward a $200,000 price tag.

About a third of the land in the Mat-Su is west of the Susitna, and that land currently has very limited access. The proposed road would extend to the west of Big Lake and provide access the Fish Creek natural resource management unit by crossing the Little Susitna River.

The memorandum represents a step toward a plan laid out five years ago. In 2014, former Gov. Sean Parnell’s administration pushed for a “Roads to Resources” program, which included access to land west of the Susitna River. 

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has expressed support for new development opportunities, and specifically believes the proposed road, if built, would lead to many new development opportunities.

Even if all goes to plan, the road is still a long way from being built. Friday’s announcement represents an important step, but there are still multiple rounds of studies and public input before any pavement is laid.