Dalton Flooding: DOT Digs Trenches to Keep Airport Open

Flooding in Deadhorse. ADOT&PF photo.
Flooding in Deadhorse. ADOT&PF photo.

The northern stretch of the Dalton Highway is expected to remain closed into next week.

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Melt water from extensive overflow along the Sag River began flowing across the road last weekend, resulting in an initial closure Sunday effecting miles 375 to 410, south of Deadhorse, and the Prudhoe Bay oilfield. The closed area was expanded about 40 miles on the south end, and a few miles to Deadhorse on the north side, Tuesday, as water began impacting additional sections of the highway. Department of Transportation spokeswoman meadow Bailey says water no longer seems to be rising, but it will likely be several more days until the road re-opens.

“We’re still waiting for the water levels to go down, and after the water levels go down, we still have to go in and make some pretty significant repairs to quite a long stretch of road.”

Bailey says the DOT briefly had to shut down some electronic navigational aids at the Deadhorse Airport, as water came up. She says the DOT dug trenches to channel water away from the airport and some man camps, but some other lodging facilities remain flooded.

Gov. Bill Walker has issued a second disaster declaration in light of the ongoing flooding. The declaration enables DOT to request federal funds to help mitigate damage.

Dan Bross is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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