State tackles flooded roads in Interior

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2000

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Dropping water levels have allowed the state Department of Transportation to reopen one lane of the Richardson Highway near a washout at Onemile Creek south of Delta Junction.

The Taylor Highway, also under flood watch, is still passable although muddy and rough in places, DOT staffers said.

Drivers tackling the Richardson Highway should expect 30-minute delays and be on the lookout for flaggers, said Mary Coulman, a DOT administrative assistant in Tok. She did not know how long the one-lane status will last.

''They've managed to keep at least one lane open the entire day,'' Coulman told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner Wednesday. ''They're still having a lot of rain out there, if anything it's going to get worse.''

The driving pace may be slow, but it hasn't caused other traffic problems, said Alaska State Trooper Jeremy Grieme.

''We've had a lot of calls from tourists and locals regarding detours,'' said Grieme. ''I think it's just caused a lot of people to spend extra hours to get around.''

Meanwhile, the Taylor Highway began to flood at Mile 76 Tuesday night, said Tok DOT foreman Ron Sakalaskas. ''The guys worked last night and they were able to keep it passable.''

However, more rain was headed that direction Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

The Chisana River had reached the top of its banks Wednesday morning, said lead forecaster Ted Fathauer. ''Flood stage is about 20 inches higher.''

Area streams are all full.

''The reason it is a little bit concerning to us is we are getting more rain there now,'' he said.

The flood warning in the area from Eagle Summit, toward Eagle, and the areas in between, including the Tanana River, is still in effect, Fathauer said. ''That holds through Friday, and possibly longer.''

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