The state is taking back its decision to turn off street lighting on the Glenn Highway, Sen. Shelley Hughes said Tuesday evening. The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities confirmed in a press release Wednesday it is postponing the curfew. 

In an effort to cut costs, DOT announced Monday it planned to turn off highway lights between 1 and 4 a.m. The decision was met by backlash from commuters who cited driving hazards and safety concerns — something Hughes alluded to in her Tuesday Facebook post.

"DOT will be working to find cost savings elsewhere — on items that don’t impact safety," Hughes wrote.

 

Lighting curfews have already been in place in Anchorage on Minnesota Drive between International Airport Road and Old Seward Highway, and on C Street between Tudor and O'Malley Roads. On the Kenai Peninsula, the department implemented a curfew on the Sterling Highway from Milepost 80 to 83.

In the Wednesday press release, DOT said Gov. Mike Dunleavy requested that the Glenn Highway curfew be postponed while additional data are gathered from the other curfews.

"The department will re-evaluate once the additional data is gathered to see if, and when, we could move forward with a lighting curfew, or explore other options, including a future conversion to LED lights, when LED freeway lighting becomes available on the market," the release states.

DOT initially said cutting the lights between Anchorage and the Mat-Su would save $190,000 each year. DOT said late night and early morning hours account for half of its electrical budget for lighting.

DOT planned to use savings for winter maintenance like snow and ice removal.

According to a press release Monday, DOT plans to expand the lighting curfew to Trunk Road from the Parks Highway to Seldon Road later this year.

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