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200 Additional Vehicle Engine-heater Plug-ins at Public Buildings to Improve Area Air Quality


Four public buildings around Fairbanks will offer more electrical outlets in their parking lots next year to encourage customers to plug-in their engine-block heaters during cold snaps. The project is intended to help improve the area’s air quality.

State Department of Transportation and Public Facilities spokeswoman Meadow Bailey says the nearly 200 additional plug-ins will be installed next summer at the Carlson Center, Big Dipper Ice Arena, Noel Wien Public Library and North Pole Branch Library. She says the greater availability of plug-ins should help reduce the amount of time required to warm up a vehicle at those parking lots in cold weather.

“The goal is to reduce engine idle time for vehicles,” Bailey said. “And this of course we hope will result in lower vehicle emissions and improved air quality for our community.”

Bailey says a federal grant will pay for the $3.2 million-dollar project, which will be done in two phases.

“The Carlson Center would be one bid, and that would be $1.8 million,” she said, “and the libraries and the Big Dipper would be a separate project and that would be approximately $1.4 million.”

Plans call for 66 new plug-ins to be installed at both the Carlson Center and Big Dipper, 40 at the Noel Wien Library and 25 at the North Pole Library.

Bailey says the project will include the installation of the new outlets and distribution panels and other work required to install the plug-ins.

“Those are mounted onto concrete posts,” she said. “There’s also some Jersey Barriers to help protect the mounted electric plugs-ins. And there will be things like trenching, replacing of asphalt that will be required when you’re installing the new electrical wires. And then re-striping parking lots, so that (the parking spots) are actually in line with the plug-ins.”

Bailey says the project is being coordinated through the Federal Highway Administration.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.