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Newtok Planning Group

Quarry Development

At the end of September 2018, the Newtok Relocation’s master builder, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation Construction (UIC), began construction on the quarry road’s temporary landing strip. The landing strip will support the delivery of freight for upcoming construction in Mertarvik and allow the transportation of passengers by chartered plane. UICC finished constructing the 1,800 foot by 35-foot landing strip in November and currently, Yute Charter is landing planes in Mertarvik. By next spring, the temporary airstrip will be lengthened to 2,000 feet. This is a critical effort that must be completed before the first residents move to the new site, as it will also allow for medevac service to Mertarvik in emergencies. In addition, the runway extension will reduce the costs of transporting materials and personnel to Mertarvik, as travel to the community has previously been solely by boat and barge.

Airplane Landing Strip
Airplane landing strip at Mertarvik; Photo: Newtok Village Council

Among the many good qualities of the Mertarvik site is the presence of a promising material site known as "Hill 460", located approximately two miles uphill and to the southwest of the new village townsite at Mertarvik (see location, to the left on map below). Gravel is needed for many aspects of new village development, from road and airport development to building pads, however it can be extremely expensive to barge to remote villages in Alaska. Having a material site close by is a significant resource to Newtok's relocation effort.

From July 24 through August 3, 2011, the Innovative Readiness Training Program's Air National Guard 202 RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers) team brought in bulldozers and an excavator to begin development of the rock quarry on Hill 460. The services of an Alaska-based driller/blaster was contracted to shoot the rock at Hill 460. Approximately 100,000 cubic yards of loosened material was generated from the area shot.

Photo below: Map showing location of Hill 460 at Mertarvik.
Source: DOT/PF

Photos below: material stockpiled at Mertarvik quarry site following blasting.
Photo: Craig Boeckman, DOT/PF
Photo: Craig Boeckman, DOT/PF

Contact for More Information

Sally Russell Cox
Division of Community and Regional Affairs
Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development
550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1650
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone: (907) 269-4588
FAX: (907) 269-4563