Denali Highway open after damage repaired

Posted: Wednesday, July 23, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) The Denali Highway reopened Tuesday, six days after wintry weather forced closure of the road.

High water washed the road out in five places.

''It is still a very rough road and we still have crews in there working,'' said Department of Transportation spokeswoman Shannon McCarthy.

The summer-only, mostly unpaved Denali Highway connects Paxson on the Richardson Highway to Cantwell on the Parks Highway.

McCarthy said the road first became impassable on Thursday as a result of rain and snow.

Most damage to the road was within about 30 miles of Cantwell. The worst was at 121.5 Mile, where a culvert had been washed out and an 18-foot-wide, 14-foot deep chasm spanned the road.

A crew from Paxson had to survey the entire road east of that spot because a Cantwell crew could not get past the washout, McCarthy said.

Crews from Healy and Cantwell finished work on the Parks Highway on Thursday night and began repairs on the Denali Highway on Friday. McCarthy said extra culverts had to be trucked down from a Dalton Highway maintenance site to repair damage.

A DOT travel advisory issued Tuesday morning advised extreme caution when traveling the road.

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