Effectiveness of Paving on Airborne Particulate Matter in Kotzebue, Alaska

The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities AKDOT&PF does not have quantitative information on the impact of paving silt-based gravel roads in rural Alaska and its effectiveness in reducing the levels of airborne particulate matter (PM). Kotzebue, one of the larger cities in northwest Alaska, has undergone a steady population growth over the past 20 years. This growth has resulted in a vast expansion in the local road network. This demand for new roads led to a substantial increase in the number of unpaved road surfaces as well as an increase in vehicular traffic and airborne particulate matter. This elevation in the level of particulate air pollution is causing Kotzebue residents to experience an increase in respiratory illnesses. "When the air becomes dusty, the number of health problems and hospital visits increase". The objective of this project is to determine if paving a portion of Kotzebue's dirt roads will be effective in reducing the levels of particulate emissions from the road surface due to vehicle traffic and winds. The project will also assess the overall reduction in the concentration of airborne particulate matter in Kotzebue. The goal of this project is to demonstrate a minimum emissions reduction of 65 - 75 % in the vicinity of the road surface and an overall reduction of particulate levels in Kotzebue of 10-20%.