Project Study Area
The Foothills West Transportation Access project study area is very large, ranging from the existing oilfield infrastructure to the North, south to Galbraith Lake near
Dalton Highway Milepost 278, and from those points west to converge on a state owned airport at Umiat. Umiat is located approximately 90 miles west of the Dalton Highway. There are no
permanent roads within the project study area. Several winter trails are present, including a portion of the "Hickel Highway," which served as an historical access corridor for oil
exploration in the area.
Within this project study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's have identified three alternatives to carry forward within the Environmental Impact Statement. These alternatives
include: the Galbraith corridor, extending from MP276 of the Dalton Highway and generally trending Northwest to Umiat; the Pump Station 2 corridor, extending from MP 356 due west to
Umiat; and the Meltwater corridor, extending from the southernmost extension of the existing industry spine roads on the North Slope to Umiat.
The entire study area is located above the Arctic Circle, and enjoys twenty four hour daylight in the short summer season, and 24 hours of darkness in darkest portion of the winter.
The project study area is considered to have an arctic climate, and entirely underlain by permafrost. Annual temperatures range for lows of colder than minus fifty degrees Fahrenheit in the
winter to highs of greater than eighty degrees Fahrenheit during the summer months. The summer season lasts from June to August, with permanent snow cover beginning in September, and lasting
through May. There are six major rivers and numerous smaller drainages within the study area. Major rivers include the Colville, Chandler, Anaktuvuk, Itkillik, Kuparuk, and Toolik. The area is
extremely remote, with the nearest community to the study area being Nuiqsut, a community approximately 60 miles North of Umiat, and Anaktuvuk Pass, approximately 90 miles south of Umiat.
Prudhoe Bay, approximately 100 miles to the northeast of Umiat, is the closest location served by both commercial jet services as well as access by an all season year round road.