Two truckers caught in an avalanche

Two truckers were caught in an avalanche Monday night on the Dalton.  Jack was not involved and neither of the drivers were seriously hurt.  The road is now closed and the State is working on trying to trigger avalanches before they reopen.  We’ve had tons of snow, seems like a record breaking year for snow actually, but for some reason no one made the decision to deal with this before it got to this point.

There is a short dash cam video on the Alaska DOT Facebook page.  And from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

Two tankers in an avalanche - The Jack Jessee Blog

Photo credit: Jonothan James Kasak via the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner website

“One of the trucks that was stuck was a tanker carrying methanol; the other one carried glycol. When the highway reopens, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will evaluate whether there were any spills. The other two trucks were able to proceed with minimal assistance from a Department of Transportation crew, Bailey said.

Atigun Pass is one of a handful of mountain passes where work crews frequently fire Howitzer artillery at snowcovered slopes to trigger avalanches in order to prevent unplanned slides. Avalanche gates were installed on the south side of the pass three years ago to stop vehicles headed into avalanche danger. This was the first time the gate has been used.”

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Before and during forest fire photos

A few weeks ago Jack and I went north on the Steese Highway to camp for a few days.  When we got there it was a normal clear day but dense smoke rolled in later in the weekend and luckily we were on our way out.  The road we were on, US Creek Road, gave us a good view of the hillside and one fire.  A helicopter was scoping it out but you can’t see it very well in the photos.  Later the road was closed by BLM.  There’s a couple of Jack fishing shots too.  The grayling weren’t biting but I think Jack could’ve kept trying for hours….well he did actually.  To view them at the correct size, click on the top one and scroll to the right.

 

Dalton Highway road construction – June 6 (1 of 3)

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 Dalton Highway is passable once again

From the Alaska Department of Transportation website:

The first vehicles traveling south on the Dalton Highway, Mile 413. ADOT&PF photo.

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.

For more go to http://dot.alaska.gov/comm/pressbox/arch_2015/PR15-2534.shtml#

Unbelievable flooding photos from ADN

From Alaska Dispatch News:

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.

 

You can see more photos and get a lot of more info from the article:  http://www.adn.com/article/20150521/epic-flooding-dalton-highway-hinders-north-slope-oil-operations

 

Aerial photos of the road closure from Alaska DOT

Jack said “Holy Sh**!” when he looked at the Alaska Department of Transportation page today.  Not because of the photos of the road flooding but when he saw this:

2015: Dalton Highway 401-414 Reconstruction, will start this summer and is a two year project. Construction contract award is $27 million. The scope of the project is to reconstruct the Dalton Highway from Mile Post 401-414, improvements include raising the grade seven feet, replacing culverts and surfacing the road.

2016: Dalton Highway 379-401 Reconstruction, scheduled for construction in 2016, estimated cost is $40-50 million. The scope of the project is to reconstruct the Dalton Highway from Mile Post 379-401, improvements including raising the grade seven feet, replacing culverts and surfacing the road.

This will raise the road 7 feet above the tundra, so when someone goes off the road, it will be a lot bigger deal.  Here is the link for that Alaska DOT page:  http://dot.alaska.gov/nreg/dalton-updates/

Here are two aerial photos of the flooding, both from the Alaska DOT webpage.  Click on the photos for more info on the captions.