State puts foam under the asphalt to prevent permafrost from melting

State puts foam under the asphalt to prevent permafrost from melting

Fairbanks Daily News Miner Editorial

Thumbs up:The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is hoping to reduce future bumps in Goldstream Road by placing 4 inch foam boards in the road bed.

The cheap jerseys idea is to prevent heat from the asphalt surface from reaching the permafrost under the road. When the permafrost melts, the soil subsides and the road surface above gives drivers a roller coaster ride or worse. Goldstream Road is a fine exhibit of the phenomenon.

The foam isn’t cheap, though. Laying more than 2 1/2 miles of it will account for $2 million of the Goldstream project’s $17 million cost.

However, if it significantly extends the life of the and reduce maintenance costs during that time, it could be worth the expenditure.

Whether those results occur remains to be seen. Permafrost is temperamental material. Once it starts melting, it might not stop. Without the annual blast of heat from above, though, it could stabilize or at least not melt so fast. If that’s the outcome, drivers of the road and taxpayers in general will benefit.

Thumbs down: A grand jury in Anchorage has alleged that the demise of the Matanuska Creamery in Palmer wasn’t just a sad story of a business going under. According to an indictment announced Friday, the owners of Valley Dairy, which did business as Matanuska Creamery, submitted false documents and statements to obtain public funds for their operation.

The grand jury indicted Karen Olson, an investor and co owner of the dairy, for allegedly making false statements to get a $430,000 agricultural loan from the state. She used the money to conceal the dairy’s true financial condition, prosecutors said in a statement summarizing the indictment Friday.

Olson’s co owner, Kyle Beus, was indicted last year and is awaiting trial. Department of Agriculture so he could draw money from two federal grants totaling $643,000. The grants were intended to support a milk, cheese and ice cream manufacturing plant in Alaska.

Thumbs up: The invasion of white sweetclover hasn’t been distracting the bees too badly, it appears.

The clover plant has come to dominate the Interior’s roadside vegetation during the past few decades. Some plant experts were concerned that its abundant flowers might hog all the insects and thus reduce

the pollination rate among more useful native plants such as blueberries.

Fortunately, such effects, if they exist, are not great or even consistent. Under some conditions, researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks found, a reduction in berry crops occurred. However, in other cases, it appears the presence of sweetclover could actually enhance berry production.

That’s not to say anyone should welcome sweetclover. The plant spreads incredibly fast and crowds out everything else. It is taking over road shoulders in the Interior, and it would be unfortunate to see it do the same on the gravel and sand bars of Alaska’s wild rivers.

Thumbs up: City Mayor Jerry Cleworth has proposed to eliminate the city’s regulation of security guards for an admirable reason: The state does the job already.

Cleworth wants to get rid of the three pages of regulations on the city’s books. Those pages require the same thing as the state a criminal background check and proof of insurance.

The City Council should consider the proposed change Sept. 9.

The Daily News Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Submissions must be 500 to 750 words. Columns are welcome on a wide range of issues and should be well written and well researched with attribution of sources. Include a full name, email address, daytime telephone number and headshot photograph suitable for publication (email jpg or tiff files at 150 dpi.) You may also schedule a photo to be taken at the News Miner office.

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