Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

02/26/2015 01:00 PM Senate TRANSPORTATION

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01:01:38 PM Start
01:02:40 PM Informational Hearing on the Dalton Highway
02:37:40 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Dalton Highway - Informational Hearing with the TELECONFERENCED
Department of Transportation and Industry
Representatives Discussing the Conditions and
Needs on the Dalton Highway
Additional Departments May be Added to the Agenda
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE TRANSPORTATION STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                          
                       February 26, 2015                                                                                        
                           1:01 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Peter Micciche, Chair                                                                                                   
Senator Mike Dunleavy                                                                                                           
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Dennis Egan                                                                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Click Bishop, Vice Chair                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
INFORMATIONAL HEARING ON THE DALTON HIGHWAY                                                                                     
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
ROBERT CAMPBELL                                                                                                                 
Central Region Director and Acting Northern Region Director                                                                     
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF)                                                                      
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Talked about the capital program for the                                                                  
Dalton Highway, the maintenance program on the Dalton Highway,                                                                  
and about safety on the Dalton Highway.                                                                                         
AVES THOMPSON, Executive Director                                                                                               
Alaska Trucking Association (ATA)                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on vehicular use of the Dalton                                                                  
ALAN HOZA                                                                                                                       
Project Specialist                                                                                                              
Alaska West Express                                                                                                             
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:   Said he  is a  former Haul Road  driver and                                                             
does safety officer training.                                                                                                   
ROGER BROWN, Dispatch Manager                                                                                                   
Carlile Enterprises                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Commented  on  vehicular use  of the  Dalton                                                             
ART REED, Terminal Manager                                                                                                      
Sourdough Express                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Commented  on  vehicular use  of the  Dalton                                                             
DAN SMITH, Director                                                                                                             
Measurement Standards and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement                                                                        
Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF)                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed  information on permits, inspections                                                             
and violations on the Dalton Highway.                                                                                           
KRISTIN RYAN, Director                                                                                                          
Division of Spill Prevention and Response (SPAR)                                                                                
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Commented  on SPAR's  coordination  efforts                                                             
with   the   Measurement   Standards   and   Commercial   Vehicle                                                               
Enforcement Division, DOTPF.                                                                                                    
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:01:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR PETER  MICCICHE called  the Senate  Transportation Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:01  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order were Senators Stedman, Dunleavy, and Chair Micciche.                                                                      
^Informational Hearing on the Dalton Highway                                                                                    
          Informational Hearing on the Dalton Highway                                                                       
1:02:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE announced  that the  committee would  take up  an                                                               
informational hearing  on the Dalton Highway  from the Department                                                               
of  Transportation and  Public  Facilities  (DOTPF) and  industry                                                               
SENATOR EGAN joined the committee.                                                                                              
1:02:55 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  CAMPBELL, Central  Region  Director  and Acting  Northern                                                               
Region   Director,  Department   of  Transportation   and  Public                                                               
Facilities  (DOTPF), Anchorage,  Alaska, said  he wanted  to talk                                                               
about  three  main topics  today:  the  capital program  for  the                                                               
Dalton Highway,  the maintenance  program on the  Dalton Highway,                                                               
and about safety on the Dalton Highway.                                                                                         
He said  the capital program involves  four different categories:                                                               
-historical capital projects for a total of $45 million                                                                         
-projects active in construction for about $100 million                                                                         
-projects in the design phase for about $250 million                                                                            
-long range projects 2015-2018                                                                                                  
Nearly $800  million of capital  work has been completed  or will                                                               
be completed on the Dalton Highway  in the next 10 years. One can                                                               
say they are vigorously investing in this corridor.                                                                             
MR.  CAMPBELL stated  that all  of these  projects are  federally                                                               
funded, so  they are somewhat at  the whim of a  steady stream of                                                               
federal funds. It  also comes with a lot of  red tape and process                                                               
that  minimizes  the  efficiency  of  delivering  some  of  these                                                               
1:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. CAMPBELL said the Dalton Highway  is about 400 miles long and                                                               
has seven  maintenance stations. Each station  is responsible for                                                               
60-70 miles  of highway and has  relatively small crews -  two or                                                               
three people  at a time  who work a week  on/a week off.  Some of                                                               
these remote  camps have employee retention  issues, because it's                                                               
hard to have a family working  that schedule in a remote location                                                               
and because other industries offer better wages.                                                                                
MR. CAMPBELL said going forward they  are looking at a 10 percent                                                               
cut in  the maintenance budget  which will affect every  route in                                                               
the  state. The  higher class  and higher  volume and  commercial                                                               
value facilities  will be  maintained first.  So, roads  like the                                                               
Dalton Highway will  not bear the brunt of those  cuts, but there                                                               
will be impacts.                                                                                                                
He said the  department does a lot of analysis  every year on all                                                               
routes statewide  to determine their relative  safety. The Dalton                                                               
Highway is  one of  the safest  routes, statistically,  with only                                                               
one-quarter the rate  of accidents of the average  for rural two-                                                               
lane roads. However,  their safety numbers are  based on reported                                                               
accidents only, so it may not be a complete picture.                                                                            
SENATOR DUNLEAVY asked  what percentage of traffic  on the Dalton                                                               
Highway  is tied  in  directly  to activity  in  Prudhoe Bay  and                                                               
MR. CAMPBELL answered about one-third  of all vehicles go all the                                                               
way to Deadhorse.                                                                                                               
1:10:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN  said this subject  matter had been on  the table                                                               
for 10 years in anticipation  of constructing a gasline and asked                                                               
if this highway is on track to handle upcoming construction.                                                                    
MR. CAMPBELL  answered yes. The Haul  Road was built in  1974 and                                                               
it has been improved a lot since then, but it could be better.                                                                  
SENATOR STEDMAN asked  if that includes bridges  and culverts and                                                               
choke points.                                                                                                                   
MR. CAMPBELL replied  it's not a stationary  target; every spring                                                               
thaw  the roads  have  problems. The  road can  handle  a lot  of                                                               
freight  traffic now,  but it  could be  improved to  accommodate                                                               
construction of a pipeline. Two-thirds of it is already paved.                                                                  
1:13:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN asked about availability of rock and gravel.                                                                    
MR.  CAMPBELL answered  that most  of  the northern  part of  the                                                               
state  has  a  shortage  of  good  granular  material.  Two  main                                                               
agencies control the  lands along the Dalton  Highway: the Bureau                                                               
of Land Management (BLM) and  the Department of Natural Resources                                                               
(DNR)  that  handles  extraction  permits.  It  is  hard  to  get                                                               
approval  to develop  those sites  and they  are usually  quite a                                                               
long distance away.                                                                                                             
1:14:50 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DUNLEAVY asked about the  plan, the cost and the timeline                                                               
for  dealing with  the ice  wedge creep  along a  portion of  the                                                               
MR. CAMPBELL answered that the frozen  debris lobe is at mile 218                                                               
and is  moving about an inch  a day, pretty fast  in a geological                                                               
sense. It  will probably  need to  get fixed  within the  next 10                                                               
years  and will  cost  about $70  million; most  of  that is  for                                                               
realigning the  road around the  node, which belongs to  the BLM.                                                               
However,  they are  not particularly  interested  in solving  the                                                               
problem from their  end, so the state will probably  have to move                                                               
the road.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  asked if the  road is realigned would  it still                                                               
be in the corridor or will permits be needed.                                                                                   
MR. CAMPBELL  said he  didn't know  if the  state has  a floating                                                               
right-of-way  centered  on the  road  or  not,  but as  with  any                                                               
project, complexities will come with  moving the road in terms of                                                               
environmental regulations  and wetlands, and they  would probably                                                               
need somebody's land when all is said and done.                                                                                 
SENATOR DUNLEAVY asked  if this node picks  up speed unexpectedly                                                               
could they move their timeline up.                                                                                              
MR. CAMPBELL  answered that it  has accelerated over the  last 15                                                               
years  from moving  1 foot  a year  to 2  or 3  feet a  year. The                                                               
department will  respond to it as  needed, as they have  in every                                                               
other emergency.                                                                                                                
1:19:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE asked  if the Richardson Highway  weigh station is                                                               
the feeder weigh station.                                                                                                       
MR. CAMPBELL didn't know the answer to that.                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  said the third and  fourth quarter of 2014  had a                                                               
higher  number of  commercial motor  vehicles  (CMV) over  60,000                                                               
pounds and asked what that means for road quality.                                                                              
MR. CAMPBELL answered that heavier  vehicles are more destructive                                                               
to a road  exponentially. A 20,000-pound vehicle is  not twice as                                                               
damaging as  a 10,000 pound  vehicle; it's six times  as damaging                                                               
or whatever. That is why they  have road closures and monitor the                                                               
temperatures and moisture content of  the road. They try to limit                                                               
those  larger vehicles  to times  when the  road is  structurally                                                               
sounder and  is able to  resist the  impacts better, like  in the                                                               
winter time.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY  asked  the   average  annual  maintenance  and                                                               
operations budget for the road.                                                                                                 
MR. CAMPBELL said the Dalton Highway budget is $15-20 million.                                                                  
1:22:10 PM                                                                                                                    
AVES  THOMPSON, Executive  Director, Alaska  Trucking Association                                                               
(ATA), Anchorage,  Alaska, said  this hearing  deals with  one of                                                               
the most important  freight corridors in the  state. Hundreds and                                                               
sometimes thousands  of loaded trucks  head north  from Fairbanks                                                               
monthly on the  only land link to the North  Slope oil field. The                                                               
Dalton Highway  is the  route to  carry freight  of all  kinds to                                                               
supply the oil  field operations for the several  oil fields from                                                               
Pt. Thomson on  the east to Kuparuk and Milne  Point on the west.                                                               
It  carries  drill  pipe,  groceries,  drilling  mud,  chemicals,                                                               
explosives,  hazardous   gases,  heavy   construction  equipment,                                                               
living quarters and many other products.                                                                                        
The Dalton  also carries a  lot of  tourists in the  summer time.                                                               
Motor coaches  make daily trips  north and south  with passengers                                                               
from all over  the world. Several state and  federal agencies use                                                               
this  road  every day  year-round  in  the performance  of  their                                                               
duties. Hunters, snow-machiners, skiers,  campers, all make their                                                               
way north throughout the year.                                                                                                  
1:23:39 PM                                                                                                                    
The  ATA  identified  the  Dalton  Highway  as  their  number-one                                                               
legislative priority this year, he  said, but they understand the                                                               
budget  crisis   that  exists  and  recognize   the  limitations.                                                               
Clearly, though,  the work  goes on  at the  North Slope  and the                                                               
road continues to be driven. Their four areas of concern are:                                                                   
1. Maintenance. Work goes on day  and night every day of the week                                                               
and it's important to maintain the road on a 24/7 basis.                                                                        
2. Enforcement. The culture has  been that everyone looks out for                                                               
each  other over  the  last 30-40  years. But  with  a change  in                                                               
demographics of  the truck-driving  corps, a  lot of  new drivers                                                               
are not engrained  with that same safety  culture. An enforcement                                                               
presence is needed to help  create a reasonable certainty that if                                                               
you  break the  rules, you're  going  to get  caught, creating  a                                                               
safer workplace  for drivers. Incidentally,  he said,  the feeder                                                               
weigh station  is the Fox  weigh station  at the junction  of the                                                               
Steese  and  Dalton Highways.  The  Richardson  weigh station  is                                                               
between Eielson  Air Force Base  and downtown Fairbanks  near the                                                               
Badger Road intersection.                                                                                                       
In  the absence  of personnel  present on  the Haul  Road itself,                                                               
perhaps  the  Fox  weigh  station  could  be  opened  24/7.  Then                                                               
problems could be  identified before vehicles even get  on to the                                                               
3. Infrastructure  is always an  issue. They appreciate  the work                                                               
that  DOTPF  has  done  and  will  do to  keep  the  road  up  to                                                               
standards.  The new  delineators were  a great  improvement; they                                                               
are the  markers on the side  of the road that  help identify the                                                               
edge  of the  road.  However, they  should not  be  white, but  a                                                               
contrasting color. Pullouts are important  as drivers need to put                                                               
chains on their truck to make a hill.                                                                                           
4.  He  frequently  gets  asked  how  many  trucks  move  between                                                               
Fairbanks  and Prudhoe  Bay and  that  leads to  the fourth  item                                                               
which is  producing and maintaining  current survey data  to help                                                               
get a better handle  on how much traffic is going  all the way to                                                               
Prudhoe Bay.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN  asked him  to elaborate more  on safety  and the                                                               
culture change issue.                                                                                                           
MR. THOMPSON answered that as  the driver corps ages, new drivers                                                               
come  in from  Outside. Some  folks are  bringing loads  from the                                                               
Lower  48 destined  for Prudhoe  Bay;  they get  to Fairbanks  or                                                               
Coldfoot  and don't  go any  further.  They don't  have the  same                                                               
sense of caring  for each other that  was seen in the  last 30 or                                                               
40 years.  An enforcement  presence or checking  in at  Fox weigh                                                               
station will help cure that problem.                                                                                            
1:30:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEDMAN said  he expected  the public  safety budget  to                                                               
shrink and  wondered if  industry could do  something to  get the                                                               
message down to the new drivers.                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON said that was a  good idea and that the industry had                                                               
formed  the   Haul  Road  Safety   Committee  that   consists  of                                                               
producers, contractors,  trucking companies, the  motor carriers,                                                               
and the folks who are doing  work on the roads. They get together                                                               
on  a quarterly  or more  frequent  basis and  talk about  safety                                                               
He  said communication  is  an important  issue.  For example,  a                                                               
couple of  years ago, the Federal  Communication Commission (FCC)                                                               
implemented a  new rule on the  use of very high  frequency (VHF)                                                               
radios  that required  written agreements  to be  in place  for a                                                               
driver of one  company to communicate with the  driver of another                                                               
company. So,  the ATA  in conjunction with  the Haul  Road Safety                                                               
Committee  put together  a plan  and  a program  whereby the  ATA                                                               
acquired   licenses  for   12   different  frequencies.   Another                                                               
organization  of   just  motor  carriers  recently   convened  to                                                               
consider different issues.                                                                                                      
He said it's important to  remember that the trucking industry is                                                               
one of the  most heavily regulated industries in  the country. It                                                               
probably spends much more than  the state on safety, because that                                                               
is where they work every day.                                                                                                   
1:35:00 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  EGAN said  road delineators  were a  number-one priority                                                               
when he  went up there  in 2010 and  asked why almost  $3 million                                                               
was spent on  delineators that were white in  color. What happens                                                               
in the white-out condition?                                                                                                     
MR. THOMPSON said he didn't have an answer.                                                                                     
1:36:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE said  that vehicle counts and weights  had gone up                                                               
pretty steadily and  asked if the major  operators had considered                                                               
funding  enforcement through  a  self-imposed toll  or any  other                                                               
kind of agreement.                                                                                                              
MR. THOMPSON  said he wasn't  aware of  any. He also  wasn't sure                                                               
that the number  of trucks and weights had  increased. The weight                                                               
laws had been the same for  years, but there probably had been an                                                               
increase  in  the number  of  permitted  loads that  have  strict                                                               
guidelines  created  by  the  Department  of  Transportation  and                                                               
Public Facilities (DOTPF).                                                                                                      
CHAIR MICCICHE referenced  a chart that indicated  an increase in                                                               
commercial vehicles over 60,000 pounds.                                                                                         
MR. THOMPSON explained that that  chart referred to the number of                                                               
trucks that  are 60,000  pounds or  more as  measured at  the Fox                                                               
weigh station,  which is not  open 24 hours  a day. There  can be                                                               
wide variations depending on how often it is open.                                                                              
CHAIR MICCICHE said  the chart clearly shows that  four months in                                                               
2014 had  871, 937, 1163,  and 1061 vehicles over  60,000 pounds,                                                               
more than in the last two years.                                                                                                
MR. THOMPSON  admitted that  was true,  but counting  vehicles in                                                               
the  same timeframe  for  earlier years  would  have resulted  in                                                               
similar numbers.                                                                                                                
CHAIR MICCICHE said  that he wanted a  comprehensive traffic flow                                                               
and weight pattern over the last decade.                                                                                        
MR. THOMPSON replied that that is  one of the primary reasons why                                                               
they want survey data developed for the Dalton Highway.                                                                         
SENATOR  STEDMAN asked  why there  was zero  traffic over  60,000                                                               
pounds in March.                                                                                                                
CHAIR MICCICHE  mentioned that  the data  reflects the  hours the                                                               
Fox  weigh  station  was  open  and mentioned  that  if  you  are                                                               
overweight and know the hours of  operation, you can just wait to                                                               
go through until it is closed.                                                                                                  
MR. THOMPSON explained  that this chart reflects  the trucks that                                                               
were there when the weigh station was open.                                                                                     
1:41:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN  asked if there  had been any  noticeable traffic                                                               
increases due to Pt. Thomson.                                                                                                   
MR. THOMPSON replied, anecdotally, yes.                                                                                         
1:42:25 PM                                                                                                                    
ALAN HOZA,  Project Specialist,  Alaska West  Express, Fairbanks,                                                               
Alaska,  said he  is  a  former driver  and  does safety  officer                                                               
training. He  observed that Alaska  is concerned about  access to                                                               
resources and  the Dalton  Highway is the  access for  nearly all                                                               
levels of supply to and from  the top resource for the state. The                                                               
state must not underfund this supply  line to the North Slope oil                                                               
and gas  fields. The safety of  those using the Dalton  to supply                                                               
the  North Slope  along with  those using  the highway  for every                                                               
purpose from  subsistence hunting to tourism  requires a constant                                                               
level of maintenance and improvements.                                                                                          
He  explained  that  in  general,  the  DOTPF  maintenance  crews                                                               
currently work  primarily day-time  shifts. However, many  of the                                                               
materials needed to keep the  oil field resource engine producing                                                               
need to keep moving up the  Dalton on nearly a constant basis. It                                                               
is  often used  twice  as  many hours  as  the maintenance  crews                                                               
operate. Adverse weather conditions  encountered along the Arctic                                                               
corridor  at  times  makes  it   very  difficult  to  keep  those                                                               
materials  moving. Severe  conditions  often risk  the safety  of                                                               
those Alaskans driving the Dalton  due to the limited maintenance                                                               
hours of  operation. This is  why the ATA carriers  are promoting                                                               
24/7 maintenance on it.                                                                                                         
He said  the DOTPF  maintenance facilities  were placed  about 60                                                               
miles apart in strategic locations,  but that is quite far apart.                                                               
The crews go in both  directions, so it effectively becomes twice                                                               
the  distance. Therefore,  critical  sections of  the Dalton  are                                                               
severely neglected,  because of the vast  distances between DOTPF                                                               
camps. If  those sections  are neglected due  to the  severity of                                                               
the  extreme Arctic  conditions it  can take  many hours  to open                                                               
drifted or avalanche-closed sections of the road.                                                                               
1:46:24 PM                                                                                                                    
The  proposed  10  percent  cuts  would  drastically  affect  the                                                               
current  level  of maintenance  and  larger  cuts could  lead  to                                                               
unacceptable road closures and  potentially more accidents and/or                                                               
spills. It  could even lead  to oil facility shutdowns.  Even now                                                               
there are  times during  winter storms when  crews are  unable to                                                               
keep  the roads  plowed and  sanded  leaving trucks  to fend  for                                                               
themselves or  simply cease movement  due to  impassability. Even                                                               
the shortest road closures can  easily result in backups of 30-50                                                               
MR. HOZA said  he had been driving the Dalton  Highway on and off                                                               
since 1981  and it is  not a  comfortable feeling sitting  on the                                                               
bottom of a hill with a truck  blocking the road or to be waiting                                                               
miles  from any  services for  hours or  days for  winds to  stop                                                               
blowing in areas that are plugged with snow drifts.                                                                             
If the  amount of Dalton  traffic is the major  consideration for                                                               
funding  allotments,   then  the  number  of   vehicles  is  less                                                               
important  than  the  type  of  traffic,  and  though  there  are                                                               
comparatively  low  numbers  of  vehicles  on  the  Dalton,  that                                                               
traffic consists of mostly trucks.                                                                                              
Much of the Dalton Highway is  built on some very unstable ground                                                               
and that in addition to heavy  industrial traffic leads to a need                                                               
to maintain  that road on an  ongoing basis just to  keep it from                                                               
falling into disrepair. He urged,  "For the safety and materials,                                                               
people  and environment,  we would  contend that  the maintenance                                                               
and operations funding the Dalton should not be cut."                                                                           
Projects such  as milepost 0 to  9-mile reconstruction, currently                                                               
under  STIP, are  critical to  the continued  improvement of  the                                                               
road which improves its safety for all traffic.                                                                                 
MR. HOZA  said current capital  projects such as Pt.  Thomson and                                                               
Alpine CD-5  are critical to  growth, which is why  oil companies                                                               
have  gone forward  in spending  capital monies  in Alaska.  Road                                                               
improvements  and maintenance  directly  support these  projects.                                                               
The  DOTPF  Northern  Region  group  has  done  a  great  job  of                                                               
consulting   with  the   transportation  industry,   focusing  on                                                               
continued  improvement and  maintenance on  the Dalton.  The Haul                                                               
Road Safety Committee  meetings are held in  Fairbanks to discuss                                                               
projects,  maintenance and  safety between  the groups  using the                                                               
road.  Everyone from  USDOT to  the Alaska  Trucking Association,                                                               
Commercial  Motor  Vehicles,  the DOTPF  Northern  Reconstruction                                                               
group,  DOTPF maintenance  groups, BLM,  and the  UAF attend  the                                                               
meetings. Some  say that the  Dalton has functioned fine  for the                                                               
last  40   years,  but  that   is  only  due  to   the  increased                                                               
reconstruction and ongoing maintenance.                                                                                         
1:51:36 PM                                                                                                                    
There  has been  some cultural  change over  the years,  Mr. Hoza                                                               
said, and he  participates in a training center. He  was asked by                                                               
a seasoned driver to create a  class to orient new drivers to not                                                               
just Haul Road  safety but Haul Road etiquette and  try to regain                                                               
some of that culture and camaraderie the road used to have.                                                                     
MR. HOZA said  the 12,000 delineators are white. But  a couple of                                                               
years  ago, they  found that  many colors  were much  better than                                                               
white,  but  got  some  federal   push-back  on  that  issue.  He                                                               
understood that  white delineators  were found to  illuminate the                                                               
roadway in  the darker  hours, but in  an extreme  blow situation                                                               
the old  white on right  and yellow  on left more  quickly showed                                                               
you if you were going in the wrong direction.                                                                                   
1:55:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. HOZA said  the March issue sounded like  a weight restriction                                                               
timeframe; many of the loads are  lighter that time of year. It's                                                               
a six-week  timeframe and  customers push them  to haul  more per                                                               
load because of economics.                                                                                                      
1:55:54 PM                                                                                                                    
ROGER  BROWN, Dispatch  Manager, Carlile  Enterprises, Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, said  the Dalton Highway  corridor is  increasingly being                                                               
used by tourism.  He said Carlile sends an average  of 30 loads a                                                               
day up  the Dalton and more  this time of year.  They support all                                                               
major  oil   field  operations  and  haul   everything  from  the                                                               
buildings  the workers  live in  to the  groceries they  eat, the                                                               
vehicles  and equipment  they operate  and the  fuel used  to run                                                               
MR. BROWN said the Dalton  Highway corridor is the sole over-land                                                               
link  to the  oil fields  and has  increasingly become  a tourist                                                               
destination. Hunters can be found at  nearly any time of the year                                                               
from  one  end  to  the  other. New  driver  turnover  is  making                                                               
training increasingly difficult.                                                                                                
He said  the state can  help increase efficiencies and  provide a                                                               
safe  environment   by  doing  maintenance   and  infrastructure.                                                               
Transportation  is  a 24/7  operation  and  24/7 maintenance  and                                                               
upkeep  is needed.  The  major issue  this time  of  year is  the                                                               
inclement weather,  but in  the summer it  will go  weeks without                                                               
maintenance and  it falls apart really  quickly; a lot of  it has                                                               
to do with  weight and speed. It's too narrow  in many places and                                                               
the edge is not well defined.  Five instances of trucks going off                                                               
the road have  happened over the last 48 hours.  Traffic meets in                                                               
a narrow  section of the  road and one guy  is too afraid  to get                                                               
too close to the edge because he  can't tell where it is and then                                                               
the other guy gets over too far.                                                                                                
Over the  last few  years, infrastructure has  become more  of an                                                               
issue, not for the regulars, but  for other people who don't know                                                               
where the  pullouts are and don't  know the risk of  just parking                                                               
in the  middle of the  road. More  pullouts are needed  so people                                                               
don't stop in the middle of the road.                                                                                           
During  the peak  of  hunting season  there are  a  few Fish  and                                                               
Wildlife  Troopers that  help keep  traffic moving;  the truckers                                                               
have radio  communication with  them. Increasing  enforcement for                                                               
the 500-mile  stretch of road  that has  none on a  regular basis                                                               
would  slow people  down  as would  having a  class  for the  new                                                               
drivers.  The majority  of safety  concerns are  from people  not                                                               
knowing the unwritten rules that experienced drivers use.                                                                       
MR. BROWN  said the  Richardson Highway has  a new  weigh station                                                               
with enforcement  officers, which has  been open not  quite 24/7,                                                               
but 99 percent of the time for the last six months.                                                                             
2:02:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MICCICHE said  they  will be  looking  forward to  getting                                                               
better data on the Dalton Highway.                                                                                              
2:06:25 PM                                                                                                                    
ART  REED,   Terminal  Manager,  Sourdough   Express,  Anchorage,                                                               
Alaska, said  they are a  statewide transportation carrier  and a                                                               
major  part of  their business  includes supplying  goods of  all                                                               
kinds  to  the  North  Slope   oil  field  companies  to  support                                                               
construction,  maintenance  and  merchandises for  those  working                                                               
there. They use  the Dalton Highway daily and safety  is always a                                                               
number  one concern,  not only  for their  employees but  for all                                                               
others using the highway. They  are very appreciative of the work                                                               
currently  being  done to  keep  the  road  open  in a  safe  and                                                               
operable condition. He stressed the need for that to continue.                                                                  
One  area  of concern  that  is  still  brought up  regularly  by                                                               
operators on  the road is  the delineators, Mr. Reed  said. There                                                               
is always  a need  for more  and a  need for  contrasting colors.                                                               
More  pullouts  are needed  not  only  for  rest areas,  but  for                                                               
putting on tire  chains and making spot repairs.  They would also                                                               
like  to see  an  increase  in enforcement  and  training of  new                                                               
He said  a lot  of time, the  question that most  comes up  is in                                                               
regards to the  quantity of trucks and/or trips on  the road, and                                                               
collectively they  try to provide  the best answer they  can, but                                                               
coming up  with real  numbers is difficult  if not  impossible if                                                               
just their organization, alone, is doing it.                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  asked his vision  of enforcement at  a reasonable                                                               
cost without too much burden on the department or the industry.                                                                 
MR.  REED  answered  that  some   sort  of  roaming  presence  in                                                               
different  areas  would be  very  helpful,  just so  people  know                                                               
someone is up  there and spot checks, as well  as keeping the Fox                                                               
weigh station open 24/7.                                                                                                        
2:11:18 PM                                                                                                                    
DAN  SMITH,   Director,  Measurement  Standards   and  Commercial                                                               
Vehicle  Enforcement (DSCVE),  Department  of Transportation  and                                                               
Public  Facilities  (DOTPF),  Juneau,  Alaska,  said  a  research                                                               
analyst  pulled   data  together  on  permits,   inspections  and                                                               
violations  from  internal  sources and  other  information  from                                                               
outside the division.                                                                                                           
The first  issue was to  open Fox  weigh station 24/7.  The DSCVE                                                               
has eight officers  in the northern region.  Presently, they have                                                               
two weigh  stations and by  this fall  they will have  four. They                                                               
have  Fox and  Ester, and  around September  the north-bound  and                                                               
south-bound Richardson  weigh stations  will come on  line. Fully                                                               
staffed, they have a plan for  24-hour operation of the Fox weigh                                                               
station. That  would lead to  two shifts at the  Richardson North                                                               
and two shifts  at the Richardson South, and  three random shifts                                                               
at the Ester weigh station. Ester  is primarily used at this time                                                               
of the  year; it's  a single-section scale,  not a  100-foot deck                                                               
for large commercial vehicles, but  one on which the axel weights                                                               
can be  checked to come up  with the overall gross  weight of the                                                               
vehicle to  make sure  that when the  weight restrictions  are in                                                               
place that those vehicles are  in compliance. Shifts are adjusted                                                               
to  known shipping  patterns and  are mixed  up so  drivers don't                                                               
know when they are there.                                                                                                       
Maintaining  a   roving  enforcement  presence  on   the  Dalton:                                                               
currently  the division  in the  northern region  has one  person                                                               
that  works  with  Alaska  State Troopers  away  from  the  weigh                                                               
station. He is trained in the use of radar and portable weights.                                                                
2:14:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SMITH said an officer finally  had his first trip all the way                                                               
up the  Dalton this past summer;  he had 43 contacts  with people                                                               
and wrote  several citations  that were  mostly for  speeding. He                                                               
did  a lot  of education  and  outreach, but  mainly he  provided                                                               
enforcement  presence  along  that   corridor.  In  general,  his                                                               
division is not  the lead police agency  in crash investigations.                                                               
They  are called  upon  if  the State  Trooper  doesn't have  the                                                               
credentials to do the driver vehicle examination after a crash.                                                                 
MR. SMITH said his division  has a tremendous amount of turnover.                                                               
Last  year  they  hired  10  people  and  2  failed  the  initial                                                               
certification; out  of the 8  that were  left, 4 left  within the                                                               
last year.  Including attrition  from other  areas, they  will be                                                               
running the North American Standard Part  A and B with another 11                                                               
inspectors in the hopes of retaining those folks.                                                                               
He said  the commercial vehicle  enforcement officer is  an entry                                                               
level position and  starts at a Range 12, Step  A, position. When                                                               
that person gets to  be able to do an inspection  of a vehicle or                                                               
the driver  on his own,  he is  flexed to the  commercial vehicle                                                               
enforcement officer 2 level, a Range 14 position.                                                                               
2:16:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SMITH  said  the  department  took two  years  to  write  an                                                               
accurate job  description and  hopefully a  job class  study will                                                               
get  done  that will  place  these  individuals into  the  proper                                                               
category so  a high level  of expertise can be  maintained within                                                               
the  commercial  vehicle  enforcement   division.  Right  now  60                                                               
percent of folks are turning over at the entry level.                                                                           
He  said the  division is  also tasked  with hazardous  material,                                                               
dangerous goods,  compliance review of carriers,  and motor coach                                                               
inspections. So, there really is no  incentive to go from level 1                                                               
to level 2 training. This is  one thing the job class study could                                                               
2:17:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SMITH said  the current survey data (Table  2) indicates that                                                               
19,000  permits were  sold in  2014. He  explained that  size and                                                               
weight applies to everybody, so these  could be folks who want to                                                               
tow their airplane floats down the  road or have a vessel that is                                                               
over 8'6"  wide, snow removal  equipment and that sort  of thing.                                                               
But  the ones  they have  been able  to identify  3,257 over-size                                                               
and/or over-weight permits for the Fox/Elliot area.                                                                             
Table 3 indicates  the total inspection count  statewide for 2014                                                               
was  a  little over  6,000  vehicles,  and the  Dalton/Fox/Elliot                                                               
section is  1,113 that they know  the load is going  through that                                                               
area and  a total of 1,256.  They do very few  inspections on the                                                               
Dalton,  itself, and  that  number  was 10.    The  Fox area  has                                                               
roadside  locations where  signs  can be  set  up and  commercial                                                               
vehicles can be pulled over; that number was 223.                                                                               
2:20:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE asked if all this work depends on one employee.                                                                  
MR. SMITH answered  no; the total number of  inspectors is eight,                                                               
but there is  just one for the Dalton Highway.  He explained that                                                               
a close  weigh station can  be shut down  and the person  that is                                                               
normally on that shift can be used to work with the officer.                                                                    
The vehicle  out-of-service rate  for the  Dalton is  9.4 percent                                                               
and  11.3 percent  for the  Elliot;  this is  below the  national                                                               
average.  The driver  out-of-service rate  at 2  percent is  much                                                               
lower than the national average.                                                                                                
CHAIR MICCICHE asked him to  explain what vehicle and driver out-                                                               
of-service means.                                                                                                               
MR. SMITH replied  that is when the driver is  stopped because of                                                               
an imminent hazard or danger to  other drivers using the road. It                                                               
could be for intoxication or  something like bad suspension parts                                                               
that could lead to a crash.                                                                                                     
CHAIR MICCICHE asked if that  number is increasing with the less-                                                               
experienced drivers.                                                                                                            
MR.  SMITH replied  that  he didn't  have  that information,  but                                                               
would get it.                                                                                                                   
He said  there are 374  driver violations for the  Dalton Highway                                                               
and a total  of 417 for the entire  Fox/Elliot/Dalton. Hazmat and                                                               
vehicle violations are 258 for the  Dalton and 344 for the entire                                                               
area.  These  numbers are actually different than  in other parts                                                               
of  the  state. Generally,  vehicle  violations  are higher  than                                                               
driver violations.  That tells  them something  is going  on with                                                               
driver behavior that  is leading to more  violations. The number-                                                               
one unsafe practice by drivers was speeding.                                                                                    
SENATOR  DUNLEAVY asked  the  posted speed  limit  on the  Dalton                                                               
MR. SMITH  answered that  it varies, but  generally it's  50 mph.                                                               
Driver citations were for 59-69 mph.                                                                                            
SENATOR DUNLEAVY  asked the fastest  one could go legally  on the                                                               
MR. SMITH said he didn't know that.                                                                                             
2:24:13 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE asked  if there  is a  posted speed  limit that                                                               
varies in different sections.                                                                                                   
MR.  SMITH  apologized  that  he  didn't  have  that  answer  and                                                               
explained  that the  primary  focus of  their  enforcement is  at                                                               
fixed  weigh stations  and,  other  than the  one  trip with  one                                                               
officer, they have very little data.                                                                                            
2:24:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SMITH  said 80  citations were  written in  the Dalton/Elliot                                                               
area in 2014  for a total of just under  100 citations. The crash                                                               
data was  interesting, he  said, because  the lead  police agency                                                               
for federally  reported crashes had two  years to get it  back to                                                               
him. No police agency normally takes  the lead on the Dalton, and                                                               
the department  that seems  to have the  best information  is the                                                               
Department of Environmental Conservation  (DEC). Hazmat spills of                                                               
more than 1 gallon need to  be reported and those are usually the                                                               
only information he  gets on crashes on the  Dalton Highway other                                                               
than the  ones that  are federally  reportable, which  means that                                                               
there was  a fatality  or injury  or that  the vehicle  was towed                                                               
from the scene.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR MICCICHE remarked  that there was a clear  absence of crash                                                               
data and that many incidents are not reported.                                                                                  
MR. SMITH agreed  and said the CMV data for  vehicles over 60,000                                                               
pounds,  however useful,  may not  be as  accurate as  they would                                                               
like,  because  it  is drawn  from  their  weigh-in-motion  (WIM)                                                               
devices  that live  in the  highway. Some  trucks are  very close                                                               
together  and it  may  count  two as  just  one  vehicle and  the                                                               
devices have  to be hit straight  on in order to  provide a valid                                                               
CHAIR MICCICHE asked  if all the data from  2012-14 was collected                                                               
MR. SMITH replied that it was,  other than the fact that the WIMs                                                               
go down from time to time and need to be serviced or calibrated.                                                                
He said the  Fox vehicle count is from the  static weights and it                                                               
counted  233 overweight  vehicles in  2014; they  may or  may not                                                               
have had a  permit. The total number of WIM  vehicles is trending                                                               
upwards  and is  now over  70,000 every  year. Interestingly,  he                                                               
started out  by saying they sold  3,054 permits, but the  Fox WIM                                                               
data shows  13,000 overweight  WIMs in that  area. So,  much like                                                               
industry,  he  thinks  an enforcement  presence  is  needed.  The                                                               
department   understands  the   importance   of  protecting   the                                                               
infrastructure  and have  the  tools  to do  it  and  hope to  be                                                               
successful  by attracting  and  retaining  better CM  enforcement                                                               
2:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  asked if  they are permitting  25 percent  of the                                                               
total overweight vehicles.                                                                                                      
MR. SMITH answered that is what the WIM data shows.                                                                             
SENATOR EGAN asked if he  was getting better measuring equipment,                                                               
as well.                                                                                                                        
MR.  SMITH  answered yes;  they  are  using some  pretty  amazing                                                               
technologies  to come  up with  the data  like automatic  vehicle                                                               
identification, license  plate readers and products  that provide                                                               
3-D modeling so that before the  vehicle comes in sight the weigh                                                               
station has a  picture of it, knows the carrier,  the weight, and                                                               
whether it can bypass the  weigh station. And it's getting better                                                               
every year.                                                                                                                     
2:33:29 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTIN  RYAN,   Director,  Division  of  Spill   Prevention  and                                                               
Response (SPAR), Department  of Environmental Conservation (DEC),                                                               
Anchorage,  Alaska, said  they are  trying  to coordinate  better                                                               
with  DOTPF's Commercial  Vehicle  Enforcement Division,  because                                                               
they aren't  always aware  of the  responses SPAR  is a  part of.                                                               
SPAR  had about  77 events  in the  last 10  years on  the Dalton                                                               
Highway that  resulted in a  spill. About 17,000 gallons  of fuel                                                               
had been released as a result  of those spills. A majority of the                                                               
accidents were  caused by  equipment failure -  tire blow  out or                                                               
breakdown  - and  rollovers. A  spill of  3,000 gallons  happened                                                               
just yesterday.  Last year there  were nine spills on  the Dalton                                                               
Highway, the highest number of all the highways.                                                                                
CHAIR MICCICHE asked the total gallons for the last 10 years.                                                                   
MS. RYAN  answered 17,500  gallons and  that doesn't  include the                                                               
3,000 from yesterday.                                                                                                           
SENATOR EGAN clarified that was on just the Dalton.                                                                             
MS. RYAN answered yes.                                                                                                          
CHAIR  MICCICHE  asked  what  types   of  materials  are  spilled                                                               
MS. RYAN  replied that  it's mostly low  sulphur diesel  going to                                                               
the North Slope and 70 gallons of hazardous substance release.                                                                  
2:36:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR EGAN said a staff member  just texted him that the Dalton                                                               
Highway maximum speed limit is "50  for the 416 miles," but there                                                               
are areas where the speed limit is reduced to 10-20 mph.                                                                        
2:37:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MICCICHE  said this was  very good information and  that he                                                               
may  put  a letter  together  with  some  questions and  start  a                                                               
dialogue on  some ways to  improve safety on the  Dalton. Finding                                                               
no  further  business,  he adjourned  the  Senate  Transportation                                                               
Committee meeting at 2:37 p.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Dalton Highway Map Enlarged.pdf STRA 2/26/2015 1:00:00 PM
DOT Dalton Highway Information.pdf STRA 2/26/2015 1:00:00 PM
DOT Alaska Fox Weigh Station - CMVs over 60000 lbs..PDF STRA 2/26/2015 1:00:00 PM
Senate Transportation Dalton Highway Hearing.pdf STRA 2/26/2015 1:00:00 PM
Dalton Highway Project Summary.pdf STRA 2/26/2015 1:00:00 PM
DOT Response to Senate Transportation Committee Hearing on 2.26.15.pdf STRA 2/26/2015 1:00:00 PM