Alaska Gov. Bill Walker and Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz were featured in a Facebook interview by KTUU TV that was at once awkward and off-putting, with the audio having a three-second delay with the video.
The two incumbent politicians stood in their requisite hardhats and orange vests at the site of the Artillery Road Bridge in Eagle River on the Glenn Highway, which was struck by a commercial truck on Wednesday and rendered unsafe. That crash led to horrific traffic backups on Thursday and the shut down of Chugiak and Eagle River High Schools on Friday.
State workers living in the Mat-Su Valley were advised to stay home Friday after the commute on Thursday, when an injury accident on the Glenn could not be reached by ambulance due to the gridlock, requiring the victim to be airlifted by helicopter to a hospital. Both sides of the highway — north and southbound — were closed due to that incident.
In all, the bridge accident has highlighted the need for better access between Anchorage and the ever-growing Mat-Su Valley. We should say it highlighted it for many residents, but not for the governor.
When questioned about whether the bridge disaster demonstrated the need for the Knik Arm Crossing, which the governor vetoed in 2016, Walker brushed off the question, citing a need for a full fiscal plan, and better plans for future disasters. When asked where the funds would come from to repair the bridge, he replied that he did not know.
Viewers of the video were unsatisfied with the governor’s performance, and to a lesser extent the mayor of Anchorage, who had a minor speaking role. By Friday evening, more than 430 people had left comments on the Facebook page, and only a handful of them were charitable.
Take a look at the video that drew such an epic social media response:
Or view it here on Facebook and read the comments viewers provided (you’ll need a Facebook account to do so).