Living in Alaska issues a major landscape obstacle for UAA students and staff, snow. It obscures lines on sidewalks, roads and parking lots, making it difficult for drivers and pedestrians to see.
The UAA snow removal system is simple. Run by Glenn Brown from the Maintenance and Operations Department, each day is planned several days ahead. Though there are two separate crews who work to plow the snow, most of the removal is done at night, “when campus is effectively closed,” Brown said.
Brown looks at the weather patterns to see what equipment will be needed for the upcoming days. On dangerously icy days, environmentally friendly gravel and salt products, both liquids and granules, are used. Usually, mechanical equipment is sufficient. All the snow plow vehicles are maintained regularly and repaired when needed.
In the event that new vehicles need to be purchased, the crew gets in touch with Fallon Harkins, associate director for Parking Services, manages the budget for the snow plow plans. However, equipment seems to be the only thing money is spent on to remove the snow.
“There is no cost to snow plowing,” Brown said.
Brown and his crew work around the clock to clear the roads, trails, and entrances to all the buildings at UAA. They also clear the main roads to the dorms and residential housing for students, though the trails and sidewalks snaking throughout the dorms are out of their jurisdiction.
Though there is no monetary cost to plowing snow, significant time and effort are certainly spent. Sometimes, even weekends are given up when the weather is especially snowy.
It’s quite a price to pay to keep our roads clear, and our staff and students safe.