Construction Report: DOT maintenance crews spend summer fixing Fairbanks roads

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 4:57 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Department of Transportation (DOT) Maintenance crew works year-round on roads around Fairbanks to keep them in the best shape possible. In the winter they are busy trying to keep the roads plowed; come summer, they begin working on repairing and maintaining the roads.

Daniel Schacher, the Fairbanks maintenance and operations supervisor for the Alaska DOT explained, “We do asphalt patching, we do brush cutting, we do the ditch repair, we do culvert replacement and repair, we do lighting, we do signals - all the signals belong to us here in town. So we do a lot of different things.”

Schacher said that the work they do is to improve the quality of the roads, or prevent damage - things like ditching, which keeps water off of the roads. “That’s part of the problem with some of our failures in the roads up here is we can’t keep the water from the road base, and then the asphalt just deteriorates from the weight that’s put on it and cracks up, and you end up with alligator cracking and the road fails.”

Schacher also clarified that big construction projects are usually contracted out - but after they are done, the maintenance crews need to keep them in good shape. “Anytime a construction project is built, we’re tasked with maintaining it. So we get federal highway funds to build it, but the state has to agree to maintain it after that project is built.”

Because of the nature of their work, Schacher said they are never in one place for long. “We are going to be in a lot of different locations throughout the summer time especially, so please go ahead and look at and make sure you know where we are working. We update that daily.”

While the projects are small they can still cause some delays, and flaggers are often present.

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