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Anchorage street crews work to clean up ongoing ice pothole problem

FastCast March 9, 2022
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 10:43 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Municipality of Anchorage is working to tackle the maze of ice potholes that have plagued the city for several weeks.

“They’re everywhere,” Paul VanLandingham, the street maintenance manager for the Municipality of Anchorage, said.

According to the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, ice holes are formed when the weather switches quickly from warm, thawing temperatures back to freezing conditions. That fast transition resulted in ice melting and then refreezing again, causing cars to swerve to make their way through sunken ice obstacles.

It left a mess behind for road crews to solve, and while most city streets have been attended to, many privately-held lots and streets are still in rough condition.

“Just these back-to-back snowfalls. And then Mother Nature throwing us that rain and freeze thaws,” VanLandingham said. “That, you know, poses some difficulties for us.”

The city says this year has been exceptional. The constant switch from warm to cold weather has left the crew with barely any time off. VanLandingham said a majority of his team has had only two to three days off of work since mid-January.

“I was able to get a couple of crews off for a couple of days, and then we got this snow, and the other crew that was scheduled to have some days off, they’re working straight through,” VanLandingham said.

Right now, VanLandingham said municipal crews will be working to finish plowing the rest of the snow that fell last weekend before they start to chip away at the ice buildup. He said that the transition to warm weather this week will help them speed up the process.

“We are going to concentrate on getting all of our drains opened up, and again, start whittling away at this ice buildup,” VanLandingham said.

VanLandingham said that within the next two to three weeks, a lot of progress will be made in cleaning the ice buildup around the city.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that many of the ice potholes have appeared on privately-owned lots and streets. The original video in this story showed footage of ice holes on both privately- and city-owned lots and streets.

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