Letters to the Editor

Road conditions unacceptable in state with so much wealth

Posted: Wednesday, January 24, 2001

Once again, I get on the bandwagon and complain loudly about the poor shape of our local highways, from Kenai to Nikiski to Lamplight Road.

My daughter "fell" into a big hole with her big dual truck, knocking the transmission loose. Her other alternative to hitting the "big hole" was hitting someone in oncoming traffic. We counted 67 holes from Nikiski to the entrance to the elementary school, which has problems all its own, with both entrances, patched upon patch and hole upon hole.

She and I both were on the phone all day long with the "phone shuffle." By perseverance and ingenuity, we talked to everyone from Fairbanks to Juneau about the big hole in the middle of the road in Nikiski. What a waste of a pretty day, two ladies getting the runaround again. To make a long day short, by 1 o'clock I saw one truck and one man shoveling asphalt into holes "here and there," making it more dangerous, as you did not know which hole to dodge and which hole was filled and which hole was going to "eat" your vehicle.

What a shame for this great state with its wonderful dividends every year and now with the money the Native people are getting, that we cannot figure out how to fix our roads and keep them fixed. Perhaps some head honcho from the Knowles cabinet should be sent to Colorado, Wyoming and some other cold weather states to take lessons on how to build, maintain and keep roads maintained. They have figured it out, why don't we (they)?

Thanks to Mike Chenault for returning our calls and acting so promptly. However, that does not fix my daughter's truck. She is a single parent that makes her living with her truck. This is a devastating blow to her, and I am sure that anyone that has been "without wheels" can sympathize. As with most of us, money is thin this time of year, and a big repair bill of a vehicle is not in anyone's budget, let alone someone who makes their living plowing snow. I cannot see why she should pay for something that was someone else's neglect and someone's ho-hum attitude in Juneau toward the most poor highway system in Alaska.

We traveled 10,000 miles this last fall. Never once did we fall in a big hole, nor did we encounter any in our travels. Only when we got back into Alaska did we encounter poor maintenance of snow-covered roads from the border on, no sanding on the most dangerous of situations and the most awful chuck holes.

What a shame. What a mess. And we want tourist to visit our great state? Why? They can't see the scenery we advertise so well because they are too busy dodging potholes. We heard this firsthand from travelers and friends who wish not to come back because they do not want to pay repairs bills on their vehicles.

We had better wise up. The next thing you know our tourism industry will dry up too, like the fishing and the oil. Seems like we are going backward in our state, not proceeding forward as would be the case in any other state. We cannot be that poor.

Ann Berg


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