Dalton Highway Remains Closed From Mile 399-405
Commissioner Luiken Describes the Magnitude of the Event as “Humbling”
(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) – The Dalton Highway remains closed from Mile 399-405 due to overflow from the Sagavanirktok (Sag) River flooding the road. Since March 13, crews from the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) have worked to keep the Dalton Highway open during an unprecedented overflow event.
"The Dalton Highway is a vital road, and the magnitude of this event is humbling,” said Marc Luiken, ADOT&PF commissioner. “There has been tremendous effort put forward so far, and there will be tremendous effort yet to come. We will get the road open. It is not a question of if, only a question of when.”
ADOT&PF has 16 employees working to open the road in 14 pieces of equipment, including side dumps, excavators, dozers and plows. They are currently working day and night shifts. Yesterday, two contractors joined the effort with 12 additional pieces of equipment, operators and support staff.
Efforts are focused on diverting water from the road near Mile 401. To do this, snow and ice berms are being built and reinforced in an effort to protect the road. Due to the massive ice sheet covering the area, it is difficult to identify the flowing channels of the Sag River. Using satellite imagery, crews are working to identify where water is flowing so equipment can break through ice and work to direct water toward the flowing channels.
The flooding of the Dalton Highway is a result of water from the Sag River. River ice is accumulating in the bottom of the shallow and braided Sag River. This ice is pushing the flowing water to the top, though temperatures in the area remain below freezing. Experts predict that a perfect sequence of snowfall, temperatures and winds lined up to create a massive sheet of ice that expands for miles.
Updates are being posted daily in these locations:
The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 237 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”
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