DOT respond to concerns over Silvertip Station closure

The Department of Transportation is responding to concerns over the closure of the Silver Tip Maintenance Station near Hope, which housed equipment and operators responsible for Turnagain Pass corridor maintenance on the Seward Highway.

In an Oct. 24 press release, Alaska Department of Transportation Commissioner John MacKinnon raised a lot of concerns and misunderstandings.

MacKinnon said the department has closed four maintenance stations in the last four years, all in response to budget reductions. He said the maintenance division is operating with $22 million less than it had six years ago.

“With these reductions, we have responded by investing in better, more reliable equipment, and more efficient chemicals to pre-treat roads for anti-icing instead of after-the-fact deicing,” MacKinnon said in the release. “We have pursued these efficiencies in order to make up for reductions of staffing, equipment and commodities. We have been successful at insulating the public from feeling the impacts of budget reductions.”

The assets from the Silvertip station are being deployed at the Girdwood and Crown Point stations, which will be taking over the maintenance of that highway. The Silvertip Station will still house equipment as well as sand and chemicals to deal with road conditions, the release said.

“We will have the resources of two maintenance stations to respond, instead of just one. This is how we have managed other station closures,” MacKinnon said.

This section of the Seward Highway will move from having intermittent 20-hour coverage to continuous 18-hour coverage, the release said. Service will be provided between 4 a.m. and 10 p.m.

“Truth is, none of the state’s highways have 24-hour snow removal coverage,” MacKinnon said. “Much of the Dalton, the Parks, and the Richardson are maintained less than 12 hours a day. We simply do not have the resources to cover all hours of the day. We never have.”

When conditions are bad, the department says it will have the ability to expand working hours, and in severe weather events there may be a temporary road closure. The release said that this practice has always been the case for the Seward Highway and all other highways.

“While we anticipate this to be a rare occurrence, the potential of a closure occurring is still there, as it always has been,” MacKinnon said. “Our equipment operators do an incredible job with limited resources. They are creative, hard-working and will always go the extra mile to help people in need. They take pride and ownership in the roads that they maintain for Alaskans. They know they are dealing with the safety of their family, friends and neighbors. Without their work ethic, we would have been feeling the impacts of these leaner budgets quite some time ago.”

More in News

Murkowski: ‘Do what’s good for Alaska’

Alaska U.S. Senator tells Legislature to work together.

Bill Roth | Anchorage Daily News
                                Protesters unfurl a banner as Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks during a roadshow with Americans for Prosperity in 49th State Brewing Company in Anchorage on March 26.
Dunleavy recall opponents plan to drop court fight

Opponents will attempt to sway the possible recall election.

Members of the Alaska Board of Fisheries meet for the Upper Cook Inlet Finfish Meeting at the William A. Egan Convention Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Feb. 11, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Board hikes Kenai River king salmon escapement goal

Proposal 104 was adopted by a vote of 5-2 on Friday.

Seawatch: Russian seafood embargo hurts Alaska fishing

While the U.S. trade war with China gets most of the headlines,… Continue reading

A map of the Upper Cook Inlet Drift Gill Net Management Area. (Courtesy Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Board of Fish tightens central district drift net restrictions

The move is an effort to strengthen Susitna salmon returns.

Teresa Jacobson Gregory presents a visual illustration of the proposed gravel pit extension and the impacts it may have on residents and the surrounding state recreation area at the Anchor Point Advisory Planning Commission Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020, at the Anchor Point Senior Center in Anchor Point, Alaska. (Photo by Delcenia Cosman)
Anchor Point advisory group recommends gravel pit expansion

No seat remained empty at the Anchor Point Senior Center last Thursday,… Continue reading

Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies becomes steward of Inspiration Ridge Preserve

Magnificent viewscapes and tranquil soundscapes surround the nearly 693-acres of Homer’s Inspiration… Continue reading

Family holds community conversation on missing daughter

As part of continued public awareness about the search for a missing… Continue reading

Homer area school announcements

Homer High School Friday — Basketball vs Redington: JV girls play at… Continue reading

Most Read