Anchorage schools, road crews brace for more snow after week of frustration

On Friday, Anchorage School District declared their 4th weather closure day of the school year.
Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:06 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On Friday, the Anchorage School District declared their fourth weather closure day of the school year, as record-breaking snowfall on Tuesday resulted in three consecutive snow days for students.

“For us, it’s a pretty unusual snow event,” said MJ Thim, with the Anchorage School District.

This year, ASD had set aside two days for weather closure. The recent snowfall now has them two days over the allocated number, with the potential for further closures next week, due to the additional snow expected to hit Anchorage on Sunday.

ASD said that conditions seen on the road early Friday morning left them concerned for safety.

“Our operations crew goes out probably around three o’clock, four o’clock in the morning. They canvas the entire district landscape,” Thim said. “We had all intentions on having school today, however, the road conditions remained unsafe. And safety is one of our top priorities.”

As of Friday afternoon, the Alaska Department of Transportation had cleared all highways and major roads, according to DOT.

“Crews are still working on improving some of the main roads through Anchorage,” said Justin Shelby, of the DOT.

Additionally, on Friday, the department began tackling all Priority 3 and 4 zones, which consist of both major and minor local roads. At the same, the Municipality of Anchorage has cleared 12 sectors, with three currently in progress as of Friday afternoon.

However, despite the progress, ASD said the roads are still not safe for staff and students to travel to school. This includes both students on buses, and those walking to school.

“We have a lot of students that walk to school, and really it was those students that we were most concerned about because of the extreme dangers to the conditions of the roads,” Thim said.

The DOT said, if more snowfall accumulates over the weekend, they will begin plowing again starting at priority one levels. Meanwhile, the city said it continues the ongoing progress of plowing. If needed, they will move a few of their resources to tackle earlier prioritized areas.

ASD said they will have crews out this weekend checking on the road conditions. They will also monitor the road conditions on Monday morning, before making a final decision on whether or not school will be open on Monday. ASD said the goal is to have a decision made by 5:30 a.m. on Monday. Families will be alerted via the ASD app. In addition, more information will be posted on their website and social media platforms.