Letters to the Editor

Letter: Snow clearing failure

It is crystal clear that the elected leaders of our city and state governments, for several years, have not appropriated enough resources for snow removal. Despite adding more roads every year, we have far fewer personnel for road maintenance than we had decades ago. Our leaders seem to believe that cutting the budget is more important than getting the job done well.

Poorly plowed roads cause accidents and slow our economy. Anchorage is a winter city. While it is fair to say that lately we have experienced heavier-than-average snowfall, our leaders should by now be aware that with the changing climate this isn’t an outlier, it is the new normal.

We have had only one major snowfall in the last month, yet our streets are still not safe. While the city has not cleared our roads as fast as it used to, it is the major roads that the state maintains that are the larger problem. On most major thoroughfares, “Bronsons” (berms) occupy up to half of the right lane. And the “Bronsons” are so high that it is impossible to see over them when trying to turn onto a busy road. For our streets to be safe, snow needs to be removed, not just plowed to the side.

While complaints like mine are easy to dish out, fixing the problem can be more difficult. So here is a potential solution. I think that the state of Alaska should continue to clear the major highways — Seward, Glenn and Minnesota Drive — and subcontract the City of Anchorage to plow the other major roads — Muldoon, Northern Lights and Lake Otis. That way, the city could beef up its staff to keep our surface roads cleared while the state continues to pay. The current split responsibility of maintaining our streets by both the city and state makes no sense and does not serve the public well.

— John Farleigh


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