A pockmarked portion of the South Tongass Highway in Ketchikan will get a new coat of asphalt this summer. That’s according to the state Department of Transportation, which is working on a longer term fix.
Freeze and thaw cycles have left the south end’s only route into downtown rutted with potholes.
In January, Ketchikan Borough Assembly Member Austin Otos told KRBD the road poses a driving hazard.
“It is wrecking and popping tires and holes — in smaller cars, of course,” Otos said earlier this year.
He described sometimes foot-deep craters between Saxman and Ketchikan’s Coast Guard Base leading drivers to swerve into the oncoming lane.
City and borough officials each asked the state for a temporary fix before larger road replacement projects get underway in 2022. State officials granted the request last week.
In a news release, state Transportation Commissioner John MacKinnon says the South Tongass repairs are a high priority for the department.
DOT says crews have already laid more than 60 tons’ worth of patches. But wet and cold winter weather means those often don’t last long.
The department didn’t say exactly when the South Tongass repairs would get underway this summer. But until crews smooth out the road, DOT asks drivers to slow down through the area.