Governor to Boost Highway Safety with $5 Million Budget Proposal
December 13, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today announced $5 million in new funding to address highway safety concerns in his FY 2011 budget for the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF).
“Keeping motorists in Alaska safer on the state’s highways is imperative,” Governor Parnell said. “The funding will be used for improvements that reduce speeds and manage traffic more safely.”
The $5 million will be used to create permanent information speed signs within highway safety corridors on the Parks, Seward and Sterling Highways, as well as Knik-Goose Bay Road in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. Other safety enhancements will include a split intersection on the Seward Highway near the Alyeska Highway, and a new traffic signal on the Parks Highway at Stanley Road in Wasilla.
Governor Parnell stressed the importance of collaborative partnering with agencies such as the Department of Public Safety. The governor has $1.2 million in his budget for five additional state troopers for the Bureau of Highway Patrol. Two troopers will be stationed in Soldotna, two in Fairbanks, and one in Palmer.
An increasing number of two-lane rural highways carry more traffic than they were designed to handle. These highways serve both through-traffic traveling at high speeds, and slower traffic trying to access businesses and homes adjacent to the roads. The congestion, high volumes of turning traffic and inconsistent speeds result in a high incidence of fatal and major injury crashes.
DOT&PF completed Seward Highway safety-related rehabilitation projects in 2009 to improve safety for the traveling public. The department installed centerline rumble strips, which are shown to reduce head-on crashes by 70 percent. Additionally, the department repaired the ruts on the Glenn Highway and Minnesota Drive, eliminating hydroplaning in wet conditions, the buildup of ice in winter and the potential loss of vehicle control when entering or exiting the rut.DOT&PF began construction on a permanent left turn lane at Anchorage’s 5th Avenue and C Street intersection with additional signage to help motorists see pedestrians more easily.