Mayor Bronson defends decision to pull municipal plows from neighborhoods to clear state roads

Some Anchorage neighborhoods report they haven't seen any plows since the first large snow fall
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 3:05 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Mayor Dave Bronson said he is sympathetic to people who are still waiting for their neighborhoods to be plowed but he doesn’t regret a decision to pull municipal plows out of neighborhoods to clear state roads over the weekend.

“We did suffer a bit of a delay because we had to help out and it was a matter of public safety,” the mayor said in an interview Thursday. “If I had to make the same decision tomorrow, I’d make the same decision.”

Bronson said he experienced the rutted roads himself and, realizing the shape they were in, contacted the state to see if municipal plows could help do the job.

“These major roads were the roads that our ambulances and our fire trucks and our police cars go on, so it’s a matter of public safety and I made the decision to plow their streets with their permission,” Bronson said.

Several Anchorage Assembly members have questioned the mayor’s decision including Assembly Member Karen Bronga who represents the city’s east side. Bronga said she is still hearing from people who have difficulty leaving their homes or getting to work because their neighborhood streets aren’t yet plowed. She said that frustration is even higher when people look at a city plow map which indicates the neighborhood has been plowed when it hasn’t.

The mayor said Thursday the city is aware of the issue and is trying to fix a glitch that has caused inaccuracies in the online map.

Bronga and other Assembly members have also raised concerns about the fact that the action was taken without a formal agreement with the state as to who would pay the bill.

Bronson said he had verbal assurances from the governor’s chief of staff and the DOT commissioner that the state would be responsible and had no doubt the city would be paid.

“They know it’s going to cost them because my taxpayers can’t pay for their work, so we’ll get the money,” Bronson said.

Bronson said municipal plows are currently plowing out neighborhoods and won’t stop till the job is completed.