The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) plans to close or “reduce operations” at five of its maintenance stations due to “declining operating budgets.”
The agency reports a 22-percent reduction—$60 million—in its general fund since last year, which hamstrings it in maintaining and operating roads, airports and ferries.
Stations to be closed include:
- O’Brien Creek Maintenance Station, on the Taylor Highway
- Chitina Maintenance Station, in Chitina
- Birch Lake Maintenance Station, on the Richardson Highway
- Central Maintenance Station, in Central. The agency also will end winter maintenance at Circle Hot Springs Airport due to the Central Maintenance Station closure. Air traffic will be allowed to continue, but the department won’t be lighting to plowing the runway.
The Thompson Pass Maintenance Station, on the Richardson Highway near Valdez, will be open in the winter only.
In addition, the department will end winter maintenance at Circle Hot Springs Airport as a result of the closure of Central Maintenance Station. Aircraft will still be allowed to take off and land at Circle Hot Springs Airport with appropriate use of landing equipment, but the department will not be lighting or plowing the runway.
“All roads will remain open, but it will take longer to plow snow and address ice conditions,” ADOT&PF says. “Maintenance of the roads in the areas of the closed stations will become the responsibility of nearby stations. For example: When the Birch Lake station closes, the Delta Junction and Fairbanks stations will split the miles previously maintained by the Birch Lake station.”