Taylor Highway reopened but rains leave roadbed in bad shape

Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Taylor Highway was reopened over the weekend, but more than a half-foot of rain over the past five days has left the region saturated and the road in rough condition with its shoulders soft.

State crews had closed the 160-mile route Thursday after heavy rains and a late break-up threatened the roadbed.

The Taylor Highway connects Eagle and Chicken with the rest of Alaska's road system. That closure left motor homes, tour buses and local traffic stranded in both towns, as well as in Dawson, Yukon Territory, which is connected through the Top of the World Highway.

''When we closed it, we had half the world sitting in Dawson waiting to cross,'' said Jim Fehrenbacher, Tok area manager for the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. ''When it opened, (the traffic) beat the road up pretty bad.''

The rain swelled creeks, which washed out some of the highway and several culverts. State crews brought in some heavy equipment to quickly repair the road.

The Taylor Highway is back to normal near Wade Creek, but it's down to one lane for a short stretch near Mile 65, closer to Tok, Fehrenbacher told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

The road will be closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights while crews scramble to replace some culverts, state officials said.

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