Chena River ice road closed with the arrival of spring

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- One of Fairbanks' surest signs of spring probably won't occur this year.

The state Department of Transportation has blocked entrances to the Chena River ice road to prevent cars from going through the ice.

The ice road crosses the Chena River from Chena Small Tracts Road to Pike's Landing Road in front of the Princess Hotel. Motorists use the road to cross the river in winter.

A vehicle going through the Chena River ice road is almost an annual event in Fairbanks, and is considered one of the first signs of spring.

People can still drive onto the river using the boat ramp at Pike's Landing Restaurant and Sports Lounge, but they won't be able to exit at Chena Small Tracts Road or Pike's Landing Road. The Department of Transportation has put large piles of snow at both access points.

''The only reason we're blocking off Chena Small Tracts Road and Pike's Landing Road is because they're state roads,'' said station foreman Mike Blanning with DOT in Fairbanks. ''We've got a liability issue there.''

DOT in prior years put up barricades to alert motorists to stay off the ice when it begins to melt. People would move them or drive through them, Blanning said.

''We blocked it once before and that seemed to work pretty well,'' he said. ''By the time the snow melts, the river is running.''

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