Big weather swings keep snowplows busy in Southcentral Alaska

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 6:59 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Southcentral Alaska has seen wild weather swings over the past week, with four straight days of above 40-degree weather followed by snow on Tuesday and temperatures almost dipping below freezing.

The recent weather has kept the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities plow crews occupied plowing, sanding and thawing culverts, trying to keep up with the ever-changing elements.

“There is no normal winter for Southcentral Alaska, so they’re always prepared for these swings,” department spokesperson Shannon McCarthy said.

The freeze-thaw cycles not only cause headaches for drivers in the winter, but they add to headaches in the summer since they create potholes, according to McCarthy. The cost to repair those potholes adds up as well between repair, labor, and material.

Last year Anchorage pothole repair cost $300,055, and patching larger sections of the road including multiple potholes or degraded asphalt came out to $122,000, according to McCarthy.

As for road maintenance this week, McCarthy said transportation department crews are focused on top priority roads that are highly trafficked, like the Glenn, Seward, and Parks Highways along with Minnesota Drive. The department encourages drivers to check the weather, cameras and road conditions on Alaska 511.

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