Alaskan roads are normally dangerous – just like in every other state. Every now and then though a particular stretch stands out as being a poster-child for carnage. Recently, miles 100-120 of the Seward Highway have proven themselves simply too dangerous to ignore. Something needs to be done. How many people must die on this stretch of highway, before the Alaska Dept. of Transportation / Public Facilities (DOT/PF) takes action?
Either Alaskan drivers in this area are particularly bad – entering on-coming lanes and killing drivers with abandon – or we have a problem roadway. I'm betting its the roadway. Remember that Alaskan law requires the DOP/PF to make our roadways “reasonably safe.” Alaska adopted the roadway and bridge building and maintenance rules promulgated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Design and maintenance standards thus – exist and must be followed.
In fact ,we have decades of cases in our court system where DOT/PF has been held responsible for people injured on dangerous roadways. This costs the State of Alaska a fortune.
While it is good to know that DOP/PF is being held accountable, isn’t the better inquiry focused on avoiding problems in the first place: “Why aren’t Alaskan roads being made safer?” It is always better to fix a danger BEFORE it becomes a legal problem.
BOTTOM LINE: Avoid the Seward Highway if you possibly can. Talk to your Legislators about getting it fixed. Go to www.SlowDownAlaska.org for more driving tips.
Slow down out there. /s/ Ward Merdes