The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) has closed the Richardson Highway between miles 180 and 205 due to unsafe driving conditions. DOT&PF has placed barricades on the highway to inform drivers of the closure and urges drivers to heed these warnings. Several vehicles have driven past the barricades, which has required DOT&PF maintenance staff to follow after the vehicles and bring them back to safety. This endangers both the traveling public and DOT&PF maintenance staff.
Several slides across the road prompted the closure of the Richardson Highway early Thursday morning, December 26. Conditions continued to deteriorate throughout the day with winds of 40-50 miles-per-hour, low visibility, and blowing and drifting snow. Equipment operators were eventually forced to cease plowing and return to the maintenance station when visibility was reduced to the point that they could no longer see past the end of their equipment. Operators carefully returned to the station traveling at about five miles-per-hour.
Maintenance staff will continue to monitor conditions and will update the public Friday with new information. Please check 511.alaska.gov for road conditions before traveling. 511 users can sign up for text and email alerts with the new 511 system after it launches on Friday, December 27 at 4 a.m.