Warm weather worsens Anchorage road conditions
The calendar may say January, but for many commuters driving around Anchorage on Thursday it looked more like spring breakup.
Many have noticed their ride to work has been a bit bumpier lately.
“I slow down, I see all those bumps coming,” said Ellis Alston. “I slow down because there’s no way of telling which way the car’s going to go one you hit them. A lot of groves in the road that will get you too.”
Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson Shannon McCarthy explained the constant starting and stopping at intersections packs down the snow and creates a kind of “cobblestone effect.”
“We are treating those [areas] with straight salt to get that worked up and scraping off. Once the salt works in it turns to oatmeal and we’re busy scraping that aside, as well,” McCarthy said.
DOT crews have been making sure storm drains are clear to prevent flooding. Seven workers were out sanding problems spots Thursday. McCarthy said rising temperatures made it difficult to pinpoint the top maintenance priority.
“Plowing versus blading versus salting, these are different types of activities for different types of weather and when you have to switch back and forth you can’t get everywhere all the time,” she said.
The municipality Maintenance and Operations Department director also kept a close eye on the forecast.
“We’ve had sanders out all night, hitting all the primary intersections, the hills, areas we know are going to be problematic when we have these weather events,” Alan Czajowksi said.
By the afternoon the warm sunshine turned the roads from pure ice to a slushy mess. Drivers said they were dealing with it the best they could.
“It’s icy and kind of treacherous. If people don’t have to get out they should stay home. That’s good advice,” said Marc Jones.