Glenn Highway to go dark from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. as lighting curfew takes effect

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) officials say the lighting curfew program is extending to stretches of the Glenn Highway between Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley, a distance of 34 miles.

Shannon McCarthy with DOT&PF says lights will still be shining on off- and on-ramps and bridges, but lights on the straightaway will be off between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.

DOT&PF says electricity is a big part of DOT&PF’s Central Region operating budget, costing $2.2 million annually for approximately 8,500 fixtures. Late night and early morning hours (midnight to 6 a.m.) account for 50% of the department’s electrical budget for lighting when less than five percent of the traffic is on the road.

As for concerns about public safety on the road during the curfew hours, specifically regarding moose, McCarthy said “This area has a lot of moose fencing … There are far less moose crashes between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.”

The department is estimating savings of approximately $190,000 in electrical costs once the lighting curfew is fully implemented.

With the money DOT&PF hopes to save, it says the savings will be used to prioritize winter maintenance tasks, such as snow and ice removal.

This lighting curfew is the fourth one implemented since July 2017.

The first one was on Minnesota Drive from International to Old Seward.

The next two were Sterling Highway from milepost 80-83 which was implemented in March 2019 and C Street from Tudor to O’Malley, implemented in July 2019.

The new lighting curfew on the Glenn Highway will go into effect this week McCarthy said.

The department is also converting eligible roadways to LED lighting with federal funds as repair cycles occur.

DOT&PF says combined LED retrofits and curfews have the potential to reduce state costs by up to 75% below the existing system costs.

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