Heavy Snowfall creates Hazardous Road Conditions in the Interior

FAIRBANKS, Ak – The snow drought is over for Interior Alaska as over six inches of snow has fallen on Fairbanks and surrounding areas as of late Wednesday afternoon.

An additional two to four inches will fall before the night is through.

Already, heavy snow is causing travel difficulties on local roads.

The Alaska Department of Transportation has issued a travel advisory for the Parks Highway from 163 Mile south of Cantwell to the Parks Monument at 344 Mile in addition to numerous other hazardous road condition observations at the following areas:  Parks Highway from milepost 345 to 362, milepost 276 to 344, Ballaine Road from Farmer's Loop to Goldstream Road, Farmer's Loop from Steese Expressway to University Avenue, and Steese Expressway from Airport Way to milepost 44.

In addition, the Steese Expressway is closed from milepost 101 to 116 due to poor visibility and drifting snow.

Meanwhile, road crews are hard at work clearing main roadways and highways of the falling snow.

Officially, at the Fairbanks International Airport, 5 inches of snow has fallen as of 5 p.m., with a few more inches expected to fall by tomorrow morning.

As expected, numerous reports of car accidents and vehicles in ditches have been reported to police and fire officials.

D.O.T. officials say they are running virtually 24 hours a day at the moment, with both heavy plows and sanders on the roads.

In times of heavy snowfall, D.O.T. says their main concern is to simply clear the roadways.

"All we're trying to do when it's snowing a lot is just get the roads open," says Steve Potter, Regional Maintenance Manager for DOT & PF. "So you're just trying to get them open, just trying to keep that going and all the details of, really scraping down the intersections or really cleaning around mailboxes and driveways like we try to do after a storm, will have to wait until after the storm, so when it's snowing and going like it is right now, we're just plowing."

D.O.T. officials are asking for assistance from motorists as they deal with the onslaught of snow.

Motorists are being advised that road clearing crews move at a slower speed than passenger vehicles.

Give safe distances between yourself and graders and sanders.

Visibility conditions can and will deteriorate around round clearing vehicles as snow can kick up in the air.

The Winter Storm Warning issued yesterday remains in effect until tomorrow (Thursday), 3 p.m.