Snow removal in Anchorage hindered by state budget cuts
A winter weather advisory is in effect throughout most of the state through 9 a.m. Friday, with some areas expecting up to 6 inches of snow. Anchorage is expecting 2-8 inches of snowfall, but removal may be delayed in some areas because of state budget cuts.
“We’re pretty well down to bare bottom on what we can handle and what we can provide as far as timely service goes,” said Jill Reese, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.
According to a map on DOT’s website, highways will be the department’s top priority. Crews in Anchorage will work to clear the Glenn Highway, New Seward Highway and Minnesota Drive first. Then, they’ll move on to major roads like C Street, A Street and Tudor Road, labeled as priority two. Those areas could take up to 36 hours to clear, according to the map.
In south Anchorage, residents should expect delays. Many of the roads in that area are labeled priority three, which means it could take DOT up to two days to clear them.
Reese says that’s because of budget cuts.
“We’re later than we’d like to be and certainly it takes longer than it has in the past, so we’ll do the best we can with the resources we have, as always, and our guys are out there just doing the best possible job,” Reese said.
She said the cuts have been tough on everyone.
“Of course we want to do the best job possible for folks, I mean our families and friends are on those roads too,” Reese said. “We drive those roads we want them to be as safe as possible, so we are encouraging people to, like us, take a real serious look at our own driving behavior.”
To shorten response times, the Municipality of Anchorage is picking up all of Arctic Boulevard and a section of Northern Lights Boulevard, from Latouche Street to Muldoon Road — areas normally plowed by DOT.
“We felt it was unfair to make the residents wait for municipal roads, maybe a day or two,” said Alan Czajkowski, director of maintenance and operations for the municipality. “Everybody is losing resources, DOT lost resources, and we’ve lost a little over the years and we’re just trying to make that up through efficiencies.”
To learn more about winter maintenance of municipal roads in Anchorage, residents can check out the snow plow information page on the city’s website. For travel information including alerts and driving conditions, view the road conditions map on the Alaska 511 page of the DOT website.
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