Image: Bear Creek road MP 233 Richardson Highway road washout Photo by Alyeska Pipeline
On July 11, 2022, Flash flooding on the Richardson Highway caused multiple road washouts at MP 218 to MP 234. Northern Region DOT&PF crews in cooperation with contractors are currently working on responding to the damage that resulted in the closure of the Richardson Highway. Crews are assessing the area for emergency repairs to include: Boulder Creek, Lower Suzy Q Creek, Upper Suzy Q, Falls Creek, Gunnysack Creek, Darling Creek, Ruby Creek and One Mile Creek. The road at Bear Creek has completely washed out around the Bear Creek Bridge.
Map of repair sites. Click here for PDF version.
UPDATE: July 21, 2022
July 21, 2022-- Governor Mike Dunleavy has declared a state disaster for the July 2022 Richardson Highway flooding that damaged the highway, culverts, and bridge abutments. On July 11, 2022, flash flooding between MP 218 and MP 234 caused multiple road washouts, including a breach of the highway on both sides of the Bear Creek bridge. Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) maintenance crews and private sector contractors responded to the flooding that continued for several days. Crews were able to restore the highway to traffic six days after the initial incident, shortly before 1 p.m. on July 17.
Over 16 sites were identified with damage as a result of July 2022 flash flood, and temporary repair cost estimates exceed $3 million. Permanent repair cost estimates are currently being developed and are anticipated to be in excess of $10 million. Repairs include Boulder Creek, Lower Suzy Q Creek, Upper Suzy Q, Falls Creek, Gunnysack Creek, Darling Creek, Ruby Creek and One Mile Creek. The state will fund or seek federal funding for eligible emergency response costs, permanent work, and long-term solutions for the highway damage resulting from the flooding.
UPDATE: 11:00 AM July 17, 2022
The Richardson Hwy will open to one lane traffic with a flagger at 12:00 PM today. Expect delays of 30 minutes or more. We are working around the clock to make efforts to keep the road open, despite rain in the forecast, and will continue to keep you informed of potential impacts.
UPDATE: 11:10 PM, July 16, 2022
Richardson Highway MP 218-234 Closure Update We are expanding the Richardson Highway MP 218-234 closure to the Fielding Lake access road at MP 200.4 to control multiple drainage structures that are at max capacity. Additional rain is in the forecast for tonight, so we are taking precautions to close this part of the Richardson to continue monitoring water levels and making repairs throughout this closure.
Contractors and crews are getting closer to opening the road, but when we open the road, all depends on the amount of rain this area will see throughout tonight. Once we open the road, we will announce it on 511.alaska.gov and our social media outlets. Consider using the Denali, Alaska Hwy and Tok Cutoff as detours.
Drone footage taken by DOT&PF Henry
UPDATE: 4:00 PM July 15, 2022
The Richardson Highway between MP 218-234 remains closed due to several areas of the road being washed out by flash flooding earlier this week.
Our bridges are designed to be resilient and the 70-year-old Bear Creek Bridge is no exception. When a bridge "washes out", it means the road around the bridge has washed out. A well-designed bridge, like the one at Bear Creek, are built to withstand Alaska’s dynamic environment. Crews are working day and night to build the road back up, armor the embankments, and to re-direct the stream back under the bridge, to make this area of the road passable.
Throughout this process our bridge inspectors have been on site and monitoring the progress to ensure the bridge is structurally sound.
For the most up-to-date information regarding this traffic impact visit 511.alaska.gov
UPDATE: 12:40 PM July 14, 2022
Our crews and contractors are working hard on responding to damage caused from the July 11th flash flooding on the Richardson Highway, MP 218-234. Response teams on the North and South ends of the closure are assessing damaged areas and working on repairs.
Read the press release for more information, including a map of the damage locations: https://dot.alaska.gov/.../pressbox/arch2022/PR22-0029.shtml
We've established a website so you can stay updated: https://dot.alaska.gov/nreg/richardson-washout/
UPDATE: 4:00 PM July 12, 2022
Richardson Highway is closed from MP 218 to MP 234 due to washouts from flash flooding. We anticipate this closure will continue through the weekend, depending on weather.
We're mobilizing equipment to the site and continuing to work in the area to assess the damage so when the equipment arrives, we can get to work quickly. Crews are making the necessary preparations to bring on additional support for repairs.
UPDATE: 10:45 AM July 12, 2022
Richardson Highway remains closed from MP 218 to MP 234 due to road washouts from flash flooding. We anticipate this closure to continue for another 24 hours, but we will know more soon.
Crews are currently establishing a list of the multiple damage areas in need of repairs, but for now we know is there is damage at Boulder Creek, Lower Suzy Q Creek, Upper Suzy Q, Falls Creek, Gunnysack Creek, and Darling Creek. Bear Creek, Ruby Creek and One Mile Creek are experiencing elevated waters. There are a few areas where mudslides are also a concern.
Fiber optics have been damaged in the area due to the washouts.
UPDATE: 10:31 PM July 11, 2022
The Richardson Highway remains closed between MP 218 and MP 234 from flash flooding at Ruby Creek and One Mile Creek. This is an expanded closure from the washout at Bear Creek, which occurred earlier this morning, July 11, 2022. The anticipated time for repairs to be completed is unknown due to current and forecasted weather conditions. Crews continue to assess the damaged area and make measures to prevent further damages due to high water levels.
For travel to Valdez from Fairbanks, take the Alaska Highway, via the Tok Cutoff. For travel to Valdez from Anchorage, take the Glenn Highway.
Thank you for keeping safe by staying off the Richardson in this area until further notice, Alaska!
UPDATE: 9:30 AM July 11, 2022
The Richardson Hwy MP 233.5 closed due to flooding at Bear Creek causing the road to wash out at the bridge. This closure will remain in effect for 12-24 hours while our crews work to make the necessary repairs for the road to reopen.