As the prime consultant for interior Alaska’s largest utility project in decades, PDC led the design, permitting, surveying, and construction administration for nearly 80 miles of a new gas distribution network. The permitting process was robust and considered several factors:
- Cultural resources & Historic preservation
- Wetlands impacts
- Fish Habitat with Stream crossings
- Stormwater compliance
This project was under a tight timeline to ensure that construction occurred on time. This required extensive coordination with permitting agencies to guarantee that permits were in place before any ground was disturbed.
PDC initiated early and conducted frequent agency status meetings to facilitate the permitting process; by the time the engineering had progressed enough to prepare permit applications the agencies were on board which shortened the application review time.
Although a low risk area for finding or disturbing historic artifacts, the State Office of History & Archaeology (SHPO) was concerned. Given the miles of line, some potential for inadvertent discovery was present. An outcome of the Cultural Resources/Historic preservation process was the development of the Utility Projects and Cultural Resources Guidance document which can now be found on the State Office of History & Archaeology website. The guide provides basic information about cultural resources and the federal and state regulations that preserve and protect them in order to help utility companies and their contractors understand and appreciate the value of cultural resources.
Additionally the guide is to aid in planning to comply with cultural resources laws and the protocols in the event that cultural resources are encountered during project activities.