As the carrier Enterprise gets closer to the end of its last deployment, questions about the fate of the world’s most famous warship are surfacing.
Well, people in Southeast Alaska have an idea: Use it as a bridge to connect Ketchikan and Gravina Island. As a bonus, it’s a floating power plant, tourist attraction and platform for trinket shops. Even without the trinkets, this way is better than the original plan to connect the two islands, the so-called Bridge to Nowhere.
But still, the aircraft-carrier-turned-bridge would have its own set issues, ones just as serious as a multimillion dollar road project with little practical utility. It’s tough to decide where to begin parsing the problems with the Enterprise idea. So, in no particular order, here goes:
- As a bridge, it would make it impossible for other vessels to navigate between the two islands. It would, in effect, create an isthmus. Ships wouldn’t be the only thing affected; sea life would need to dive below the bow to pass. Ironically, the Navy is charged with protecting freedom of navigation.
- No matter the Enterprise’s fate, it almost certainly will not become a floating power plant, whether it ends up in Alaska, the mothball fleet or on Mars. The Navy’s nuclear energy program is one of the military’s most closely guarded secrets, and it’s extremely unlikely that it would be handed over to a municipal utility organization.
- Ketchikan, the home of an international airport and around 14,000 people — it’s Alaska’s fifth-largest city — has a miniscule reputation as a tourist destination. No matter how awesome the trinkets, it’s going to be tough to convince people to buy airfare. And could Ketchikan even afford the Enterprise? Its fiscal 2012 budget tops in at just over $102 million, and its construction budget totals around $33.3 million.
This list could go on, but Matt Groening probably summed it up best. Just watch the clip, sing along and substitute “monorail” with “Enterprise.”