Department of Transportation traffic counters have been set up in east Talkeetna, along the Spur Road and other locations in the Upper Valley. According to Highway Data Field Manager Stuart Riley, their office is required by the Federal Highway Administration to do counts in specific areas each year. The counters move around on a 3-year rotation. Riley’s office deals with Southcentral Alaska, including locations on the Kenai, Kodiak, Dutch Harbor and as far north as Broad Pass.
He says the counters go up in different locations each year. He is the collector of the data, and passes the information to the planning department for their information. That information is used for making decisions on re-surfacing and other projects. According to Tom Schmid, manager of the Talkeetna Airport Improvement Project, none of the installed counters in east Talkeetna have any relation to that project.
Riley says he has thousands of sites each summer. The counters run off of a small solar panel with an internal fixable battery. Residents may see the counters across the road for a 9-day period although DOT officials will only count a full 7 day cycle of traffic.