Hurry up and slow down

The following editorial first appeared in the Peninsula Clarion:

When angry, count to 10. When very angry, count to 100 — and if you’re stuck in summer construction traffic, take a deep breath and keep counting.

Alaska has two seasons as the saying goes — winter and construction — and with winter just about over, that means construction season is under way. Projects are in the works for the Seward and Sterling highways as well as other borough roads this summer, and with more visitors soon to be on their way, travel on the Kenai Peninsula this summer may at times be an exercise in frustration.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Slow down, pay attention, especially in construction zones. Arriving at your destination late and frustrated is better than not arriving at all.

According to the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, there were four accidents in construction zones on the Kenai Peninsula last year. Statewide, an average of 80 work zone accidents are reported each year.

Doug Schoessler, the borough’s road service area director, reminds motorists to drive with caution where road work is under way.

“When (drivers) spot any workers out, slow down,” he told the Clarion. “It’s similar to speeding in a school zone where there are kids at risk.”

There’s never a convenient time for road construction. Indeed, in Alaska, much of the work has to be done at the most inconvenient of times. But cautious, courteous behavior in construction zones will allow workers to focus on their jobs and, hopefully, complete them that much faster.

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It is a big week for Alaska’s capital city. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan are in town to address the Alaska State Legislature, the United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) Board of Directors, and all Alaskans. There are a number of issues on which the state of Alaska, including our elected decision makers at both the state and federal levels, can show unity. One of those critical issues is asking the U.S. federal government to defend Alaskan interests in the Alaska-British Columbia (B.C.) transboundary mining issue.

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