Snow Removal Crews Working as Fast as Possible
Crews struggled to keep up with snowfall Tuesday
ANCHORAGE - A foot of snow fell on Southcentral Alaska within 24 hours on Tuesday, and snow removal crews struggled to keep up.
“We got a lot of calls from the public indicating that certain roads hadn't been plowed at all since it snowed, when really we'd been out there, and even an hour later it did appear that we hadn't been plowing at all,” said Randy Vanderwood, chief of Maintenance and Operations with the State Department of Transportation.
Drivers on Thursday were feeling the consequences of a wet heavy snowfall as they bumped along certain roads and intersections.
"They’ve been pretty bad, they're bumpy, it’s kind of like when they did plow them they didn’t really do a good job, they were just trying to get most of the snow out of the way,” said 20-year-old Anchorage resident Willie Phillips.
Other drivers were happy with the plow-out work done in the last 48 hours.
“Yesterday it was pretty awful all the way through but this morning it wasn't too bad, I had a pretty easy time getting around,” said 19-year-old Kala Jenkins.
Though the main roads are mostly clear, the municipality is sill working in residential neighborhoods.
“The side roads are still bad, you can hardly turn off into businesses… those need to be cleaned,” said Anchorage resident Vikki Jeffery.
The Municipality said no additional staff or resources were brought on this year for snow removal -- even after last year's record-breaking snowfall.
The DOT is also working with the same amount of resources.
“We don't staff for the worst case scenarios; our staffing levels and our funding levels are based on an average year,” said Vanderwood.
Vanderwood says the DOT requests additional funding to cover overtime as it's needed.
“Last year was a record year and they occurred a lot of over time and contractual expenses. We went back to the governor’s office and the legislature and got additional funding to cover our shortfalls,” he said.
“So this year, same thing, if we end up being a little bit short we'll analyze where we are at in our budget and if we need additional funding we'll then request it as a supplemental to this years budget,” said Vanderwood.
Meanwhile, if crews need extra equipment, they look to the rest of the region to share.
“This particular storm didn't allow it -- we were looking to call up to Fairbanks but they were getting dumped on as well,” said Vanderwood.
The Municipality of Anchorage maintains a street maintenance website at http://www.muni.org/departments/works/operations/streets/pages/default.aspx.