For those of us whose quality of life is enhanced by the beauty of our surroundings, we wish that Department of Transportation and Public Facilities shared this value.
Instead, the department has devoted two weeks of expensive machinery and crew to de-nuding every inch of vegetation in a wide swath of the North Douglas Highway. When I last asked the department about its criteria for vegetation removal, I was given a speech about driveway sight lines and "going down to the ditch" no matter if that was one foot or 10 feet. In the wake of these past activities, our lovely wildflowers were wiped out.
Now, with too much time and money on hand, these same crews are going down the ditch and up the other side, as much as 10 feet up into the forest. They are taking down everything from alders to spruce to hemlock to bog orchid, leaving trees in shreds and leaving tire gouges and great shards and splinters in the road way to blow out tires of bicycles and cars. This is on straightaways and the outside of curves of the road and even where there are no driveways - where there is no conceivable safety need to cut back more than a few feet.
We used to live in what was the most beautiful stretch of road in Juneau, enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.