DOT announces steps taken to improve safety along ore hauling route

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 10:58 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With the Manh Choh Mine in operation and set to potentially start hauling ore to Kinross Fort Knox this winter, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced a series of steps being taken to improve safety along the route.

The ore hauling plan has generated controversy in neighborhoods along the route for what community members are calling potential safety hazards and inconveniences. These include the massive size and slow speed of the vehicles being used to haul the ore, road conditions, the number of road trips per day, and the presence of school bus stops along the road.

In response, the Dept. of Transportation is allocating $1,600,000 dollars to clear brush along the route, in order to increase visibility around school bus stops. DOT will also create more signage, marking upcoming passing lanes, so faster vehicles aren’t as tempted to make risky passes without one.

The department is also in contact with local EMS providers to determine their resource needs.

“We’re going after a grant for some digital alert systems that we want to offer to the school district, explains Shannon McCarthy, Communications Director for Alaska DOT, “and that’s where you put equipment on a bus that sends out a message to commercial haulers that there’s a school bus ahead and it’s stopped, o they have an alert well before they even see it. So we’re going after that funding right now. The grant is due October 10th, and we’re hoping to be successful on that.”

DOT says they will continue to assess bridges along the route in case of damage or other changes to their suitability.

Continued coverage of the Manh Choch Mine ore hauling project will be available as the project expands its operation.