Juneau drivers are being set up

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2007

Finally, some clarity in the Juneau winter road driving chaos.

Sound off on the important issues at

According to a front-page article ("High snowfall leads to budget shortfall," March 7, Juneau Empire), "Assembly member Merrill Sanford, a member of the public works committee, said the streets division has been returning money to the budget reserve each year for roughly the past decade because the city has seen less snow in recent years than Juneau has historically experienced."

This admission that road plowing, sanding and de-icing funds are not being put into protecting the winter driving public is deeply disturbing. There have been no shortage of accidents in the last 10 years. Egan Drive alone had 294 reported accidents in 2006. This figure does not include those that went unreported. When street maintenance withholds funds, accident victims pay. If you have been a victim of a lack of proper winter road maintenance, then you have been set up.

There is an unrecognized multimillion-dollar industry built around car wrecks in Juneau. Badly designed and maintained highways generate revenue for special-interest groups, which include police, rescue, medical, tow truck, car repair, new car sales, insurance and others. The costs to the driving public extend beyond financial hardships.

The status quo will not change without public pressure from victims and other citizens who want major road reform.

Like many of you, I have been involved in accidents that would not have occurred had the roads been safely designed and maintained. Accidents are all too common during the winter months. When the roads are filled with snow, covered with ice and dangerous, we, the driving public, are put in moral danger.

Victims of the Juneau Road System is a grassroots organization advocating for safe roads in Juneau. To join, write P.O. Box 34551, Juneau, AK 99803.

There is power in numbers.

Claude Epperson


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