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DOT works to increase safety along Seward Highway

By Dave Detling 6:07 AM March 20, 2014

Officials: Policing, engineering and drivers play a role

ANCHORAGE – The state Department of Transportation says it is committed to making the most dangerous state-maintained roads and highways safer.

This includes the Seward Highway. Since 2013, the state has spent more than $16 million in improvements, and state transportation officials say those improvements are paying off.

“We have seen a number of projects completed already,” said Scott Thomas, a DOT central region traffic engineer.

Improvements include five slow-vehicle turnout lanes between Potter Marsh and Turnagain Pass. There are also noticeable “rumble strips” between Bird Creek and Girdwood.

The department has also been working with Alaska State Troopers, whose patrols enforce headlight laws, speeding and other moving violations.

According to DOT’s annual Safety Corridors Study, the Seward Highway is less dangerous than it was in 2006. Thomas said there’s been a decrease in overall crashes; however the number of fatal crashes still averages two a year.

“We just want to work toward eliminating dangerous crashes throughout Seward Highway,” Thomas said. “We’re implementing safety improvement projects in phases.”

The next phase of construction is slated to begin this spring.

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