Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Scenic View, Dangerous Drive: Sec. of Transportation Discusses Seward Highway Safety Solutions
Dozens of people took the opportunity at a safety meeting at Girdwood's Community Center to tell U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood what they think should be done.
Today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood landed in Alaska for a two-day tour of the state. The goal of his visit is to highlight some of Alaska’s transportation challenges, which includes the expansion of the Seward Highway.
The route is one of the state’s most scenic drives, but also one of the most dangerous.
So far this year, three people have died as a result of injuries in vehicle crashes between Potter Marsh and Girdwood, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation.
William Chadwick, fire chief for Girdwood Fire Department, says he wants something to change so that more people don’t lose their lives.
“My concern is that people are still dying out on the highway. We're putting a lot of temporary solutions in place; we're looking at a lot of short-term solution," he said.
Dozens of people took the opportunity at a safety meeting at Girdwood's Community Center to tell Secretary LaHood what they think should be done.
Many suggested a four-lane highway, barriers, more signage and reduced speed limits to get drivers to slow down.
Chadwick said the state should have started on an expansion project decades ago.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner Joseph Masters said the state is working on several projects to improve safety but is limited to what it can do because of limited funding.
“Whether short- or long-term, a lot of the ideas have been acted on. I think now we're looking at the more costly and more significant issues," he said.
State DOT officials said it would cost more than $600 million to construct a four-lane highway, which they believe won't happen anytime soon.