Here’s two 2-minute clips of a section of the road that is about 130+ miles from Fairbanks. At the beginning, Jack passes by Chucky’s Corner on the right. Chucky was a trucker who lost his life on that corner and it’s memorialized with the name, and the cross.
In this one and a half minute video, Jack drives over the pipeline then has to wait in back of another truck while a grader finishes clearing the road. Then he continues on down the hill – you can see the grader on the left. (Don’t forget, the video is in HD so don’t watch it blurry!)
Well at least the top corner of it did on January 7th. It appears that snow fell on a majority of states in the continental US in January. These images are from the NASA Earth Observatory website – the one of the southwest was taken quite recently, January 28th.
Here are the rest of the photos from when Jack drove through the flooded area, the portion of the road that was recently closed because of the overflow of the Sag River onto the Dalton. There is a HUGE tracked vehicle that Jack says can float! I can’t see how that’s possible but supposedly, if it breaks through the ice, it won’t sink to the bottom of whatever it is on. In his case it’s a matter of a few feet to the ground. But it’s just hard to imagine either way.
Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
Jack is heading toward Prudhoe so the Sag River overflow is coming from the right.
This is the tracked vehicle that Jack says can float. He called it an excavator with float tracks but it probably has a specific name.
You can see multiple berms created by the excavators.
This plowing equipment is the State of Alaska’s – they are still there plowing the road. They take care of the road and the private contractors take care of the flooding.
Coming up on the line that is heading out of Prudhoe.
Jack is on the other side of the flooded area now. This is what the road is supposed to look like at this time of year.
The last I heard from Jack he was still waiting to be offloaded. There are a few freight trucks showing up to wait for a chance to get through, but no fuel trucks will be allowed. Those will still be offloaded about 23 miles from Prudhoe.
The below photos are the last of what Jack took before the road closure, on the 1st and 2nd of April. It’s far from the worst of it. For the deepest water Jack experienced, click on “On a slow truck to Prudhoe” on the right.
Jack was able to call and he is fine. The road is closed with no sign of being open soon. He is there with 4 or 5 other trucks waiting to get offloaded to a tractor-type vehicle with tracks. Jack described it like an International Harvester with triangle tracks. Several of them are running back and forth to Prudhoe, skirting the flooded area.
I was worried that there were more trucks all having to idle because it’s so cold but that’s not a concern. There are only a few trucks and some of them have generators so they don’t have to idle for cab heat. And someone brought them food and water some time ago. He’s not having fun, but he’s not too miserable either. It’s just a waiting game until he can get offloaded and head back (and then probably head right back up again).
Coldfoot was really busy when Jack went through on Thursday; no one else is being told to head up to Prudhoe except some fuel trucks. And no one is waiting on the Prudhoe side. They’ve all been told to go back. Many have been flown out and since resources are so short they are probably running essential personnel only.
Jack is a bit mad at himself for not leaving town more prepared. He had 3 gallons of water and some food which is almost gone. But no extra clothes and all kinds of other stuff it’d be nice to have like a laptop to watch movies on to help pass the time. He says the people who are handling this mess are working on putting systems in place to make everything more stream-lined, but at present it’s still a work in progress. This might be the new normal for a while. Everyone saw the water getting higher and higher and no one could do anything about it, like watching a slow motion disaster.
The below photos are from about 10 days ago when the road was still passable, but barely. The best way to view them is to click on the first one and scroll through.