Winter Information Guide
The City of Kodiak, Public Works Department maintains 25 miles of streets within the city limits. To perform this function the Public Works Department has 5 operators, 6 maintenance workers and 3 mechanics to provide almost around the clock service in the winter. Equipment available includes 4 graders, 1 sander, 2 salters, 4 dump trucks, 1 loader, and 1 snow blower.
- Main Traffic Routes - Traffic routes are normally plowed out within 6 hours after heavy snowfall stops. These routes are plowed with graders from early morning to late at night during storms.
- Other City maintained streets & parking lots - After a heavy snowfall stops, we attempt to plow out these areas full width with driveways and intersections gated within 24 hours. Normally a complete plowout is necessary after snowfalls exceeding 4".
- Alleyways - To be plowed after other roadway areas are completed.
The City uses a combination of rock salt and chips to improve traction and melt ice on paved streets and sand or gravel to improve traction on gravel streets. Salting and sanding are one of the first weapons the City uses to combat icy conditions. Drivers should be aware that generally only hills, intersections and curves receive applications of these materials.
Kodiak, having a maritime climate is subject to frequent weather changes during the winter. One of the most dangerous is the transition from a cold spell or snow storm to rain. During these periods of extremely icy conditions it may take several hours for public works personnel to improve driving conditions. Motorists are urged to avoid driving during these times if possible.
SNOW BERMS AND SIDEWALKS
The City's primary objective is to keep streets open for safe travel. Whenever possible, operators try to minimize the size of snow berms across driveways (a gate can only carry so much, and will often spill over, leaving a berm). The City does not have the resources available to remove snow berms and clean sidewalks. Removal of snow berms and the cleaning of sidewalks are the responsibility of the property owner/resident.
Whenever possible, snow is stored behind the curbline on the roadway's right-of-way or hauled out of the area. After the initial plowout, in an area where the snow is hauled, graders will return and push the snow back into the street where it is loaded into trucks and hauled away, making room to plow succeeding snowfalls. This procedure may block sidewalk usages for several days or weeks. Many walkways in the downtown are cleared as time permits.
STATE ROUTES/SERVICE DISTRICTS
Rezanof Drive is maintained by the State of Alaska. Their number is 487-4952. Service district roads are maintained by private contractors hired by the Kodiak Island Borough. Their number is 486-9343.
YOU CAN HELP
Winter street maintenance is expensive, dangerous and time consuming. There are several ways the public can help make the City's job more cost effective and safe:
- Residents who remove snow from their driveways or sidewalks are reminded the City ordinances prohibit placing snow or ice on any public street, sidewalk or parking space in a manner that impedes vehicles or pedestrian traffic or makes it unsafe.
- Some areas of Kodiak have no off street parking. If residents have a vehicle parked on the street and see or hear snow removal operations starting, please move it immediately. If not moved, the vehicle will most likely be bermed in and it will be the residents responsibility to shovel it out.
- Illegally parked & junk vehicles in the streets are a major problem in snow removal and slow snow removal operations considerably. Such vehicles must be towed to remove snow. Vehicle owners must then pay towing and impound costs.
- Any snow plowing obstructions such as rocks, fences or planters along the roadway edge should be removed for the winter. Not only can they be destroyed by snow removal operations, they can do substantial damage to snow plows and blowers, thus slowing the snow removal process. Owners of such obstructions are at risk should City equipments be unnecessarily damaged.
- Please place garbage cans at least five feet inside driveways away from the roadway edge. This will help prevent equipment from hitting them or operators having to veer around them and not completely plow the route.
- Snow from resident properties should not be stacked over ends of culverts or drainage structures. Rapid warming cycles and plugged culverts in winter could result in overloaded ditches being unable to drain and local flooding could occur.
- Snow removal operations require the use of large, heavy, noisy equipment to be operated during periods of darkness usually accompanied by limited visibility caused by falling snow. City operators are carefully trained and safety is stressed at all times. Always use extra caution when maneuvering your vehicle through an area where snow removal operations are taking place.
- Children love to watch snow removal operations - the large equipment, noise, lights and activity can be very exciting. Although operators are glad to have people watch, everyone should be cautioned to stay a safe distance away. The concentration required for efficient snowfighting, combined with the noise and type of equipment used, means that operators may not always be able to see small children close by and accidents could result. Please encourage children NOT to build tunnels, forts or play in snow berms.
For further information, please call the Public Works Department at 486.8060.