Snow removal slowed in Anchorage due to high winds

Muni official says over 220K cubic yards of snow removed from Anchorage this year
Snow removal slowed in Anchorage due to high winds
Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:21 AM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Strong winds on Friday undid some of the hard work completed by Anchorage snow removal operations.

Over the holiday weekend, things got worse for motorists as sheets of ice coated roadway surfaces. Both wind and ice exacerbated the ongoing challenges plowing crews faced as they tried to clear streets from two successive snowstorms earlier in December.

Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Spokesperson Jill Reese released a statement regarding the progression of snow removal and mitigating the cumulative effects of wind and ice.

“... All DOT & PF are cleared and passable,” Reese wrote. “Clean up operations are ongoing this week. With the holidays, and barring any more storms or thawing, work will begin on the bike paths next week hopefully.”

Regarding the condition of Anchorage streets, Reese noted that while all roads were “drivable,” ongoing snow removal and plowing and roads remained a top priority. The Municipality of Anchorage concentrated snow removal efforts on zones 5 and 32 on Tuesday, which include the South Addition and Muldoon neighborhoods.

Reese noted that this year’s winter weather events simply outpaced snow, ice, and wind conditions of recent years, and keeping roads clear and transit systems afloat constituted a “herculean effort.”

“It would be helpful to the public to get an idea of the scope of the work that is being done. In winters past, this much snow would be spread out over half the winter,” Reese said.

Several major multilane roads in Anchorage now only have one drivable lane, stirring feelings of frustration and criticism. Anchorage Street Maintenance Manager Paul VanLandingham stated that the delay in widening roads for traffic has been part of an effort to keep sidewalks as accessible as possible for pedestrians.

“I’ve made the decision to give the people who do not have vehicles — which are the pedestrians getting to public transit stops, or just biking to work — to leave that option open to them,” VanLandingham said when asked about the status of the lanes. “One lane has not been a popular move but we will continue to haul the streets out.”

VanLandingham said he hopes people will be patient.

“I’ve said patience since day one, and I’m going to say it until we’re done with this,” he said. “If we can just show a little patience for everybody, we will continue to work around the clock to get the streets opened up.”