(JUNEAU, Alaska) – With areas of the state beginning to see winter weather, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) is preparing to manage Alaska’s roads with fewer resources.
All state agencies, including ADOT&PF, are working with reduced operating budgets due to low oil prices. For Alaska drivers, budget impacts will be most visible during winter storms when the department’s maintenance resources are in demand.
Each winter ADOT&PF maximizes its resources to meet the provided operating budget. This winter will be no different. However, the response frequency will be reduced, and response time to all routes may take longer depending on the severity of the winter storm.
ADOT&PF follows a systematic approach to clear Alaska’s roads of snow and ice by categorizing every state-maintained road as one of five priority levels. Each level is based on traffic volume, speed, and connections to communities and other roads within the local transportation network.
Priority 1 roads will receive the most winter maintenance, followed by Priority 2, Priority 3 and, finally, Priority 4. Priority 5 roads do not receive winter maintenance. The five priority levels are defined as:
Priority Level 1: high-volume, high-speed highways, expressways, minor highways, all safety corridors and other major urban and community routes.
Priority Level 2: routes of lesser priority based on traffic volume, speeds and uses. Typically, these are major highways and arterials connecting communities.
Priority Level 3: major local roads or collector roads located in larger urban communities.
Priority Level 4: minor local roads that provide residential or recreational access.
Priority Level 5: roadways that are designated as “No Winter Maintenance” routes, e.g. Denali Highway or Taylor Highway.
A map is available at dot.alaska.gov/wintermap to help Alaskans identify the priority level of the roads they drive most frequently. Additional winter driving tips may be found at dot.alaska.gov/winter.
ADOT&PF reminds drivers to prepare for safe winter travel and to drive according to road and weather conditions. Remember, the posted speed limits are for dry pavement. Drivers can access real-time travel information by visiting 511.alaska.gov, or dialing 5-1-1 to hear National Weather Service weather watches.