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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Even Texas looks like Alaska!

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.

Overturned truck

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.

Jack’s first heavy haul load

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!

Happy Spring and Happy Easter!

Jack's first heavy haul load

Huge mod is pushed up “Koyukuk”

The hill that drivers call “Koyukuk” is right next to the Koyukuk River and it’s one of the steepest on the Dalton.  It’s about 30 miles south of Coldfoot.  The video was taken last winter.

Jack happened to be there to document this huge mod being pushed up the hill by push trucks and also being steered from the back because it’s so long.  If you look close you can see someone standing outside on the load as it goes up the hill – he’s steering the rear end as it goes around the curves.  The guy doing the steering is one of the former owners of Carlile and he comes up the Dalton for these types of loads that need some special care.  (Carlile was sold to Saltchuk Corporation a while ago.)

In case you are wondering, the truck is going pretty slow, about 5 miles an hour in 3rd gear.  The last thing you ever want to do, Jack says, is change gears when you’re going that slow with that much weight since you’ll stop before you get it into a different gear.  If you stop it’ll take a while to get going again and without the momentum you’re putting a lot of strain on the truck and there’s too much potential for breaking something.  The years Jack spent in heavy haul were great years he says, but he doesn’t miss it.

 

Dalton Highway road construction – June 6 (2 of 3)

Here are more photos from when Jack was leaving Prudhoe on June 6th.  There’s more info on the captions. Click on the first one and scroll to the right.

Cleared lane through avalanche blockage

Here is a quick video from when Jack went through the cleared lane that the State of Alaska loader made after the avalanche on Atigun Pass.  Don’t forget you can change the settings in the lower right hand corner if the video looks grainy.