WASILLA — Knik-Goose Bay Road will be the subject of increased high-visibility patrols by the Alaska State Troopers, who in conjunction with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers will be pooling all resources to patrol KGB for dangerous driving during the month of January. In a press release issued on Tuesday, AST officials announced the extra patrols aimed to decrease collisions and save lives.
“We’re starting the new year off with a bang to address safety concerns on Knik-Goose Bay Road,” said Alaska State Troopers Colonel Barry Wilson. “Our goal is to reduce serious collisions and save lives.”
Before the Trooper patrols increased on Jan. 1, five passengers and one driver were taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center with one passenger airlifted to Anchorage following a collision on Knik-Goose Bay near Endeavor Street. Wasilla Police Department issued a statement that 73-year-old David Baybee of Anchorage had died as a result of the accident. KGB has a fatal collision rate four times the national average, per Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities reports.
“We’re hoping people will see us out there at all times of day and night and cease inappropriate driving behaviors that can result in expensive citations and serious collisions,” said Alaska Wildlife Troopers Colonel Doug Massie. “People’s lives are always the Department of Public Safety’s top priority, and we’re here to ensure their safety, be it on the highway or in the backcountry.”
Long-awaited upgrades to the treacherous stretch of road are slated to begin construction in 2021 and 2023. Project Manager for DOT Tom Schmidt said that DOT will spend over $160 million in KGB upgrades at a town hall on Dec. 28.
“This was designated by myself as the most important road to do work on when I came into office,” said Dunleavy at the town hall. “We’re the fastest growing section in the state and this is ground-zero for it right here on this road.”
AST are encouraging drivers to call 911 and report dangerous drivers as part of their Report Every Dangerous Driver Immediately campaign. Dangerous driving behaviors that will be targeted by AST and AWT patrols in January are speeding and aggressive driving, distracted driving and texting.