Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Public Works: the heart of every community

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Sunday, May 07, 2006

PALMER—Each winter the MAT-SU Public Works Department gets plow trucks moving across 985 miles of roads and makes sure some 16,000 tons of sand is spread across slippery routes. The landfill took in 64,746 tons of trash last year. This summer season, Public Works is set to complete more than $1 million in road repair projects. The nearly-finished John D. Shaw Elementary School and the now-under-construction Nutrition Services Facility are some of the 121 projects, worth more than $121 million, that Public Works is managing. Such vital work in the community often goes unnoticed, behind the scenes. Public Works is opening its doors to you in two weeks. From May 19-27, the MAT-SU Borough is celebrating National Public Works Week by hosting a week of activity, including tours of new schools, updates on the Port, a bumper drag, and an open house with cake and punch. "Public Works play a vital role in providing a better quality of life for the MAT-SU Borough's communities," said Director of Public Works Keith Rountree. "I welcome each of you into our "house" to show how it all comes together. "Come meet the five employees who manage the roads that run across 22,000 square miles of the Borough. Find out who it was that worked 13-hour days to thaw dozens of frozen culverts when the busy flooding season hit. Get an update on the Port's federally-funded ferry terminal as it moves beyond the cement and rebar stage. Learn how incredibly efficient the landfill is at recycling: 1,200 tons of scrap metal, 140 tons of car batteries, and 35 tons of newspaper were salvaged from the landfill last year. In last year's Bumper Drag, 410 vehicles and 100 refrigerators were recycled into scrap metal. With the big construction industry here, surplus construction materials such as sheet rock, plywood, and wood flow into the landfill. Last year, 140 tons were recycled. "I'll tell you right now you could literally build a cabin out of the stuff people throw away," said Greg Goodale, division manager for Solid Waste. The week begins with a Bumper Drag on May 19. A resident can dispose of junk metal for free. Attached is the rest of the schedule of events for National Public Works Week. For more information, contact Public Works Director Keith Rountree at 745-9801.