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Icy roads keep emergency responders busy

Posted: October 27, 2011 - 8:51am

Icy road conditions Wednesday morning caused a number of accidents along the Sterling Highway, in Sterling and Soldotna. Central Emergency Services responded to four accidents, three of which were roll-overs. Alaska State Troopers responded to eight accidents -- injuries were sustained during two of them.

"Icy conditions, the black ice was a big factor," CES Fire Marshal Gary Hale said. "It caught drivers by surprise in the morning."

One of the four accidents CES responded to Wednesday was in Sterling, the other three were south of Soldotna toward the Mile 99-101 area of the Sterling Highway.

Hale said black ice can still linger after the sun comes up in areas that may be shaded by trees and do not receive adequate sunlight to melt the ice in time for commuters.

"It surprises some of the drivers that go into the shadow areas that still have black ice after sun hours," Hale said.
Hale said it is difficult to check road conditions until motorists are already on the road.

"They can't check road conditions until they can stop on asphalt," Hale said. "The first time they stop at a stop sign, road conditions are totally different from when they begin their journey until they get into another area."

Troopers responded to two accidents in Soldotna -- one at Ciechanski Road and one north of Arc Loop. Troopers also responded to one accident in Cooper Landing at Mile 54 of the Sterling Highway. There were five accidents that occurred on the Sterling Highway in the Mile 91-100 area, which is south of Soldotna.

With the increase of traffic accidents Wednesday -- along with the first snow imminent, local business are preparing for the tire-change rush.

"It's been slowly getting busy every day, especially today with the ice on the roads," Johnson's Tire Service salesman Mike Johnson said.

Jeff Rogers, assistant manager at Alyeska Tire Service in Kenai said October is the peak month for tire changes.

"People wait 'til the last minute," he said. "The last three weeks we've been pretty busy."

Hale said icy road conditions could continue.

"If we get more rain and temperatures drop below freezing, we could see identical or worse conditions." he said.

Logan Tuttle can be reached at

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SXQ 10/27/11 - 09:53 am
I am thinking its due to all

I am thinking its due to all the outsiders that have moved here, not knowing how to drive in our weather conditions and still think they can drive like they did in the lower 48, too bad we can't kick them out....

lisale43 10/27/11 - 11:13 am
I'm Thinking.......

My parents came to Alaska, before it became a state ad homesteaded. My younger brother and I were born here, so that would make us home grown Alaskans. I have been driving in the winter since I was 15.
My comment is to SXQ.
Do you really believe that Alaska is the only state that has snow? I ask this because your comment, included the 48 states. I hate to tell you this, as your pompus attitude would apparently be deflated. But the lower 48 also has snow.
I now live in Montana, and we have snow and lots of it, yet one could always count on the first snow fall to bring accidents. Not because there is an outsider, but because we grew accustomed to summer roads, and ignore the sign.
I believe, your issues are stemming from something else.
Oh and another thing......My parents moved here from the lower 48...Texas. Not to mention all of the folks that came to Alaska, before it was a state, moved from he lower 48. DER.
Oh, I can't stop here. Driving in snow is not born into your blood, as much as it is learned from common sense.
Buckel up, and drive safe, and stay out of SXQ way, as he might think your an outsider.
Lisa Evans

shadowmt 10/27/11 - 11:05 am
winter roads

Time once again for all the reporters and state troopers to start blaming the road for ice and snow just like they do every year. You would think that someday they would learn.
Humans who are not paying attention to road conditions are the ones to blame! Get a clue!

busntheroad 10/27/11 - 11:51 am
not the roads..its the reckless drivers

Its a total disreguard to safety..I drive that section of highway 5 days a week/ 160 miles a day. Its my job. I can tell you its not the road but the drivers. Speeding, passing in NO PASSING areas, running reds on the school busses, not slowing down when the conditions on the road change. That roll over by TOTE road could have hit one of my kids... it was just 20 feet from her pick up area and at the same time she stands there...I'm not happy!.. when you no longer hear the sound of water on a wet road, its ICE! SLOW DOWN! GET OFF THE CELL PHONE! Black Ice happens just before sunrise between the temps of 28 to 34 degrees for your information..It was water at 5:45am and ice by 6:30am.

How about making sure your teenagers are also driving safe? They leave SMS and Skyview morning and afternoon like they are going to a race..they are worse with ice and snow..district needs to remove some parking passes and parents need to remove some driving privileges from some of these kids before someone is hit in the school zones..winter is here..

northernlights 10/27/11 - 06:06 pm
good comments

All of you are right on except for sxq, its always the drivers. Cant beleive how wreckless they are when driving to Anchorage, they risk our lives because of stupidity.

shadowmt 10/27/11 - 07:25 pm

My pet peeve is the troopers and reporters that keep blaming the road. As long as that keeps up the drivers will never have to take responsibility for their driving.

mcheintz 10/29/11 - 08:25 am
slick roads

parents put your kids on the bus..keep them safe during the winter road conditions. and a handful of sand on the roads goes a long way in keeping everyone safe. Even the best of drivers can loose control. especially in places it is always bad like the hill by solid rock. and yes the kids at sohi drive crazy endangering other students on foot in the parking is only a matter of time.

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