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.
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.”
Another set of photos from years past… this guy was coming over a small rise and when he got to the top he saw some hunters in a pick up truck turning around in the road, so he was forced to go off the side and into the snow instead of hit them. Unfortunate.
Years ago Jack came across this load that fell off a truck north of Coldfoot. Click on the first one and scroll to the right. More info on the captions.
Jack is pretty sure this is an “explosion box”, a portable unit that’s probably used as a break room next to a rig most of the time, but it’s most crucial use is as an explosion shelter. If there’s a an explosion individuals can stay in it for protection. It’s actually upside down here and the damaged attached boxes are probably heaters or ventilation units.
The driver was looking to the left, drove off the road on the right, then turned the steering wheel abruptly to get back on the road, breaking the chains that held the box down and tossing it off the trailer.
Marks where the box first hit the ground.
This is most likely how the fallen load was tied down. This truck is carrying a similar unit.
There are four chains here. The fallen load was probably tied down correctly but the force was enough to break pieces of the trailer, probably not the chains themselves.
In June, Jack and I went south on the Alaska Highway to camp and came across this construction site with a new culvert going in. More info on the photos. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.
This is the culvert that’s going in, about 6 feet in diameter and maybe 80 (?) feet long.
Jack says this is the stream water being diverted while the construction is going on.
Water is being sprayed to keep the dust down.
The fabric is Typar that was laid down under the road years ago and there’s also some rigid foam insulation showing on the right. All of this is an attempt to keep the dirt under the road frozen in order to prevent frost heaves.
The next two photos are pretty self explanatory. Collapsed culverts are very common in interior Alaska.
Here are more photos of our late summer camping trip up the Steese Highway. Chilly, but hardly a cloud in the sky…
You’ll see Davidson Ditch, a water pipe built in 1920s, that runs 90 miles along the Steese Highway. It used to bring about 180,000 gallons of water per day to the gold dredges in Fox, Alaska from the Chatanika River.
(Click on the first one and scroll to the right.)
Sitting around our campfire, the northern lights decided to give us a show.
Jack, lovin’ life.
An ember from the fire timed itself perfect for our long shutter speed.
The Steese Highway, one of the less populated camping destinations.
There are several nice roadside memorials on Alaskan highways, but we both agree this is the best one we’ve seen.
It’s only late August, but that means fall up here, about 60 miles north of Fairbanks.
Even farther north at Twelvemile Summit Wayside (about 80 mile Steese).
Probably the best time to drive the Steese Highway, late summer.
State camp, Montana Creek Station (road maintenance station).
Lots of mining on the Steese Highway.
And lots of burnt forest.
Davidson Ditch snakes its way to Fox, Alaska (about 8 miles north of Fairbanks).
Davidson Ditch is practically in this house’s back yard.
Chatanika Lodge, a most important place to visit if you come to Alaska. Tons of interesting stuff in there. About 40 mile Steese Highway.
This is directly across from Chatanika Lodge, a very old mining site with a gold dredge (on the right) that used to float.
This was Jack’s first heavy haul load. He wasn’t actually part of the a heavy haul division yet but obviously it was a landmark load for him.
You can see the partially melted snow and the dry road. We are almost to that point in the year right now, and you can probably believe that it is an exciting time for us Alaskans who have snow 8 or 9 months of the year!
The drive line of this truck broke coming down 5 mile last summer. Just like putting it in neutral, the motor didn’t help slow him down. While trying to stop the truck going downhill the driver smoked his brakes, then coasted up 6 mile hill. His brakes wouldn’t hold him when he coasted to a stop, they were too hot. So then he rolled backwards into the ditch. There’s more than accidents that go on up on the road but most of it isn’t exciting enough to post. 🙂