Call it sunrise or sunset, whatever you want, but the sun has officially shown up in Prudhoe Bay (the photo was taken the 21st of January). From November 24th to January 17th it doesn’t break the horizon but on the 18th it’s just above the horizon for about an hour. During those two months it’s not pitch black all day but instead it’s varying degrees of twilight for a couple of hours each day. On the 19th of January it’s up for an hour and a half, 30 minutes more than the day before, and each day more and more light is gained, though the gain slows down to about 12 minutes a day by the end of January. So people who live and work up there notice a drastic increase in light over this time. At the beginning of February the length of day is about 5 hours and by the end of February it’s about 9.5 hours! At March 21st the length of day is about 12.5 hours and by the 15th of May the sun never sets! This is all according to the website http://www.timeanddate.com (and corroborated by Jack 😉 ).
The first ten or so of these photos are from when Jack drove into Prudhoe Bay June 6th. The rest are from when he was leaving Prudhoe about 4 hours later. The place is barely recognizable. There’s more info on the captions. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
The original road goes straight – the detour is to the right.
This is wash out between the original road and the detour road.
You can see the delineator marking the right side of the old road, on the far left in the photo.
Now you can see new culverts and the orange fiber optic cable that ran along the old road, now exposed.
The window is up, sorry. The old road was right there where that big hole is.
Those are culverts (on the left) that were used to try to save the road, but they didn’t work.
They used super sacks (on the left, big white sand bags) to line the road while they filled it in. It was eaten away though as evidenced by the collapsed tundra. Water started eroding the tundra and exposed layers of ice.
This tundra was supported by ice that has been eroded/melted.
Looking south at the end of the detour.
Now Jack is heading out of Prudhoe with the detour to the left.
Motorcycle tourists are common even this early in the season.
The water from the Sag River eroded ice and material from under the road.
Here is the orange fiber optic cable that was buried next to the old road with a layer of ice behind it. Prehistoric ice, that is.
Layers of ice under the tundra.
On the left, the Sag River, the culprit.
The base of this building was underwater a short time ago.
Just snow that hasn’t melted yet.
Melt water that has frozen over night.
On the right, that gap between the road and the tundra used to be road.
The pieces of 4×4 at the ends of the crumpled culverts are used for marking the ends.
Gravel from the old road on top of tundra on top of ice. More on the next post.
From the Alaska Department of Transportation website:
The first vehicles traveling south on the Dalton Highway, Mile 413. ADOT&PF photo. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
(PRUDHOE BAY, Alaska) – The Dalton Highway has reopened to traffic after an 18-day closure caused by massive spring breakup flooding.
Traffic began moving on the road at 8 a.m. this morning. The highway is open to two-way traffic, but drivers will encounter a section with flaggers and pilot car at Mile 412-414. The road remains in rough condition through the flood zone at Miles 392-414, with multiple narrow sections and an uneven surface. Drivers are urged to travel slowly and watch for signs.
The reopening of the highway marks a milestone for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF), which has been handling the Dalton flood response since the initial overflow problems in March. The cost of this spring’s emergency response totals $15.5 million.
Flooding on the section of highway south of Deadhorse began in mid-March when overflow from the Sagavanirktok (Sag) River began spilling onto the highway. River aufeis accumulated in the bottom of the shallow and braided river and pushed the flowing water to the top, though temperatures in the area remained below freezing.
DEADHORSE — Unprecedented flooding continues to interfere with daily operations on the North Slope oil patch after surging waters wiped away swaths of the Dalton Highway and isolated a section of Deadhorse, the jumping-off point for the sprawling industrial region.
“This is just epic,” said Mike Coffey, commander of the unified incident command, a response team consisting of the state, the North Slope Borough and oil companies. “People who have been here for decades say they’ve never seen anything like it.”
The state has estimated the costs of the damage and repairs since March at $5.1 million. The federal government may pay for much of that, since the icing and flooding on the highway has been declared a disaster, said Coffey, the director of state transportation maintenance and operations.