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.
A few months after Jack helped haul bridge beams to the Donjek River Bridge in Canada, he went back to haul the beams from the staging area off the road onto the ice where they were constructing the bridge. (Best viewed if you click on the first one and scroll to the right.) See captions for more info.
Two cranes are needed to pick up bridge beams, one on each end, since they will break if they are picked up from the middle. In the construction process they are pre-stressed to take weight from the top and won’t hold up if lifted from the middle.
The old bridge is on the left and the cranes are moving down onto the river.
Jack is down on the frozen river here with the new bridge on the left and what looks to him like concrete joints on the right.
The orange tarp is covering the concrete and keeping the warmth in from heaters so that it will cure.
The 2 cranes are on their way up to the staging area where they will pick up the beams and place them onto the trailers for the trucks to bring them down to the river where the cranes will then pick them back up and place them on the bridge in their correct positions.
They are loaded and following the cranes back down to the river.