A contractor plows snow down Forest Drive in Kenai on Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

A contractor plows snow down Forest Drive in Kenai on Jan. 17, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Reduced funds close road maintenance station on Seward Highway

Turnagain Pass maintenance will now fall on Girdwood and Crown Point maintenance stations.

A maintenance station responsible for winter plowing on the Seward Highway is closing due to reduced fuel tax revenue, according to a Wednesday press release from the Alaska Department of Transportation.

The Silver Tip Maintenance Station, located at the Junction of the Seward and Hope Highways, maintains the Seward Highway through Turnagain Pass. The maintenance duties of Turnagain Pass will now fall on both the Girdwood Maintenance station and the Crown Point station south of Moose Pass.

The release said plowing Turnagain Pass during the winter will be prioritized.

The closure is due to cuts triggered by lower than expected revenue from the Motor Fuel Tax, which supports the department’s maintenance workers and stations. In addition to the station’s closure, five operator positions were cut from the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities central region, the release said.

The station’s closure and lack of heavy equipment operators will have an impact on the hours snow and ice removal occurs through Turnagain Pass, and drivers may notice reduced service in evening and early morning hours. During winter storms, the department will approve extended working hours, according to the release.

The Silver Tip Maintenance Station covered the Turnagain Pass area between two 10-hour shifts. The Crown Point and Girdwood stations will cover the Silver Tip region from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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