Even though the road leading up Pillar Mountain is technically closed to traffic, motorists will find the path unblocked. That’s because over the weekend, the gate the City of Kodiak recently installed to keep unauthorized vehicles out for the winter was stolen.
Around April Fools Day, the City of Kodiak became the victim of some mischief.
“The gate at the bottom of Pillar Mountain was removed and stolen sometime over the weekend.”
Lieutenant Tim Putney is a police officer for the Kodiak Police Department. He says the road leading up Pillar Mountain was closed to motor vehicles for the winter because it’s dangerous to drive on. Snow isn’t cleared from it and the road can get very icy.
When the gate was first installed a few months ago, there were was some resistance from Kodiak residents. On the Facebook group “Friends of Kodiak,” many voiced their frustration with the gate. There was even an online petition to reopen the road to motor vehicles signed by almost 200 people.
Putney says he understands why some locals are upset, but he thinks blocking off traffic from Pillar Mountain during the winter is a matter of public safety.
“I’m aware there’s some people in the community that didn’t agree with it in the first place, but the fact is that not everybody has the equipment you need to drive up there in the winter time and in the last 15 years I’ve worked at the police department we’ve had a couple of people who were killed in the winter driving up that road. ”
So far, the police haven’t found the gate, but Putney says KPD’s still investigating the theft.
He says one of the reasons the situation is a serious matter is people may believe the road’s been officially open by the city when it’s still dangerous to drive on.
“We didn’t open it up as the city. We still don’t think it’s safe. People should avoid it for a couple more weeks at least.”
The city is planning on assessing whether the road is safe later this month, but until it’s deemed driveable people should avoid trying to get up the mountain by car or truck.