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Thane Road Avalanche Hazard Reduction Notices


Thane Road will be CLOSED Wednesday, Feb 20th 12PM-2PM

Avalanche Hazard Reduction on THANE ROAD from MP 1 to MP 5 Road closure, warning, be prepared to stop. Avalanche Hazard Reduction on THANE ROAD on Wednesday 2/20/19 from 12pm-2pm. THANE ROAD will be closed during that time.


February 5th, 2019

Yesterday, Alaska DOT&PF updated the Thane Road avalanche control sign to show a road closure for Thursday, February 7th from 12 PM to 2 PM. The current plan is to conduct an avalanche hazard reduction DaisyBell mission on Thane Road during that time.

Here’s how DOT&PF will typically share information out to the Thane residents about potential road closures:

  1. Early notification typically uses the orange avalanche control signs on Thane Road.
    • If DOT&PF is planning an avalanche hazard reduction mission, we will try to have those signs updated as soon as we anticipate needing a mission.
    • So, the signs could be updated a day or two (as conditions allow) in advance of a mission. 
       
  2. The second notification goes out via a 511 alert within 24 hours of a potential road closure.
    • Once the 511 alert is posted, it is highly likely that a road closure/ hazard reduction mission will occur.
    • 511 alerts will expire when the mission is complete.

By using the warning signs, DOT&PF can give Thane residents a heads up that a mission will likely occur. Once the 511 alert is active, a mission is planned and residents should expect a road closure.

Because the avalanche hazard mitigation work depend on changing snow conditions and weather, it’s possible that DOT&PF uses the signs or both signs and alerts, then calls off the mission.

DOT&PF recommends that all Thane residents sign up for 511 alerts and share sign up info widely.

To subscribe to texts or emails about Thane Road avalanche hazard reduction work (including road closure notices):

These notices are also available online at http://dot.alaska.gov/sereg/thaneroad/.

Please contact DOT&PF with questions:

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, over 5,600 miles of highway and 731 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to "Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure."


January 23rd, 2019

Dear Thane Residents,

As you have likely noticed, avalanche warning signs are up on Thane Road and DOT&PF has begun avalanche hazard reduction on the slopes above the road.

You can subscribe to texts or emails about Thane Road avalanche hazard reduction work (including road closure notices):

Alaska DOT&PF has acquired a new cost-effective avalanche hazard reduction tool for Juneau – a DaisyBell. The DaisyBell is an avalanche hazard reduction tool that is transported via helicopter and uses concussive forces to trigger avalanches.

This technology is relatively new in the US, but has been used in the Juneau area for many years. There are six DaisyBells in use in the United States. Three of them are in Alaska and two are in Juneau. The Juneau DaisyBells are owned by DOT&PF and AEL&P.

The DaisyBell allows DOT&PF to conduct more frequent and highly targeted avalanche hazard reduction to reduce the probability of large destructive avalanches. With the Daisy Bell, DOT&PF can more easily pinpoint specific slopes and problematic areas using visuals and snowpack data to reduce avalanche hazard to Thane Road.

In addition to changing methods for hazard reduction, DOT&PF has hired Pat Dryer as an avalanche specialist. Pat’s experience includes 10 years working as a Ski Patroller at Eaglecrest Ski Area, teaching avalanche education statewide, and has also forecasted for the CBJ Urban Avalanche advisory in years past. On behalf of DOT&PF, Pat will analyze weather and snowpack data, collaborate with avalanche experts at CBJ, AELP&P, Kensington Mine, and others, to develop avalanche forecasts for impacts to transportation corridors. Pat will also implement appropriate avalanche hazard reduction measures to the area above Thane Road.

As DOT&PF increases Daisy Bell use and reduces Howitzer use for avalanche hazard reduction, you will see some operational differences:

  • With more frequent avalanche hazard reduction, there is lower likelihood of large avalanches impacting Thane Road.
  • DaisyBell missions will be conducted in weather suitable for flying, so you might see the helicopter above Thane Road during hazard reduction missions.
  • With the DaisyBell, DOT&PF expects to run more frequent hazard reduction missions that are shorter in duration.
  • Road closures may be more frequent but will rarely last longer than two hours.
  • During the DaisyBell training period, additional road closures for training missions may be necessary.
  • Unlike when the Howitzer is used for avalanche hazard reduction, the channel and airspace over Gastineau Channel does not need to be secured for all DaisyBell missions. Sandy Beach will remain open during DaisyBell missions, as well.

To learn more about the DaisyBell, see these links:

Here are recent news stories about DaisyBells in Juneau:

Please contact DOT&PF with questions about Thane Road avalanche hazard reduction:

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, over 5,600 miles of highway and 731 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to "Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure."