The Arizona Department of Transportation is seeking the public’s help in identifying the thief or thieves responsible for stealing nearly $400,000 worth of aluminum snow fencing from a highway in the White Mountains.
The thefts have occurred over a period of months along State Route 273, near the Sunrise ski resort. The fences are designed to act as artificial wind breaks, keeping drifting snow and ice off the roadways and allowing for access to the area to remain open during blizzard-like conditions.
ADOT reported missing more than 100 snow fence panels along SR 273 from mileposts 377-380, between the SR 260 junction west of Springerville and the turnoff to the Sunrise ski area in Apache County.
Dustin Krugel, a spokesman with ADOT says the fences are large panels approximately 16 feet wide and 12 feet high. They are primarily located along rolling grass hills and other big, open areas where there aren’t trees to provide a natural wind break.
“They’re really designed to prevent snow from drifting on to the highway,” Krugel said in a phone interview with “Land Line Now.” “This saves ADOT a lot of time and resources in clearing snow and ice off the roadway.”
The estimated cost to replace all of the missing snow fences is nearly $400,000.
Krugel said the department believes the fences may be headed for scrapyards. He also said the Arizona Department of Public Safety is conducting a criminal investigation into the thefts. Individuals who may have information are encouraged to contact law enforcement at 800-78-CRIME (800-782-7463), which can be done anonymously.
“We want to get the word out, and we need the public’s help because we have not been able to figure out who is taking these snow fences,” he said.
“Land Line Now” News Anchor Reed Black contributed to this report.
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