APD now patrolling portion of Seward Hwy
It's been a while since Alaska State Troopers regularly patrolled parts of the Seward Highway after the State Legislature cut their budget, eliminating over two dozen positions. The highway, which is well known for its share of fatal accidents, will now be patrolled by Anchorage Police for the first time.
Bad crashes along the Seward Highway are all too common. The scenic, two-lane road, with lots of bends and twists, doesn't offer much room for driving errors. Starting this month, Anchorage police officers will regularly patrol between McHugh Creek, all the way down to Ingram Creek.
Motorists, like Palmer resident Christine Harris, are happy to hear the news.
"I wish the troopers, Alaska would get their budget together, get our troopers back out here because they need to be back out here too," she said.
Two years ago, a Legislative cut eliminated over two dozen state trooper positions. Since then, regular patrols of the highway stopped until now. Anchorage police will watch a 40 mile stretch of road all thanks to a one time $250,000 grant provided by the legislature.
Traffic officer Shane Pollack was on patrol Friday afternoon.
"We're looking for the aggressive reckless drivers," he said. "We're also down here as a presence to be available for people who need help down in the highway."
Kenai resident Marian Morse says she now feels safe with someone patrolling the road.
"Just knowing somebody is out there making sure people aren't driving crazy, they're not speeding, they're not drunk on the roads," she said. "Watching out even for people just on the side of the roads that are broken down, taking care of them."
Anchorage Police Spokeswoman Nora Morse, no relation to Marian Morse, says the Department is happy to extend their services.
"Our main concern is public safety, and we know that's there's a lot of residents from Anchorage, and all over the State that uses the highway, so we're really happy to be able to provide that safety element," said Morse.
Anchorage Police say they have enough funding in place to patrol the highway the until March.