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Speed monitors added along Seward Highway

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The farther you go down the Seward Highway, perhaps the easier it is to lose track of speed. It’s a huge concern for the state Department of Transportation because the stretch of road has a reputation as a killer. However, the highway may be getting safer. New solar-powered speed monitors were recently installed to grab the attention of drivers.

“This is the first time I’ve seen them,” said motorist Richard Brink. The new signs are the latest step in Gov. Sean Parnell’s highway safety initiative.“We’ve been here a long time,” said Alaskan driver Fran Muncy. “They have a lot of accidents. Maybe this will help.” The signs use radar to detect drivers coming from up to a quarter mile out. They collect speed and count cars. The idea behind them is not to enforce the law, but educate. “If you give a motorist that kind of information, the natural feedback is to slow down and become more conscious of your speed,” said Jill Reese with Alaska DOT. “Essentially they’re an educational tool that we want to provide as another safety measure.”

Since the stretch of road from Potter Marsh to Girdwood became a designated safety corridor, the DOT says highway fatalities there are down 53 percent.Data collected by the radar speed signs will help officials plan what future safety measures might be taken.“It’s less dangerous than it’s ever been and we keep moving forward in making improvements,” Reese said.The radar signs aren’t just going up along the Seward Highway. Soon you’ll see them on every safety corridor in Southcentral Alaska.It’s a huge investment of more than $2 million of state and federal money.

The state DOT says it’s worth it because the cost of not enhancing highway safety could be someone’s life.

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