Construction Report: update on highways impacted by fires

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Parks Highway and Sterling Highway in Southcentral Alaska have both been impacted by hours of delays for travelers and intermittent closures due to wildfire activity. Meadow Bailey, communications director with the Alaska Department of Transportation says people traveling in those areas need to stay updated on the current status of the highways and she recommends looking at akfireinfo.com for fire updates and 511.alaska.gov for the status of roads throughout the state.

Crews cut hazard trees near edge of fireline on the McKinley Fire on August 22, 2019. (Alaska Dept. of Forestry photo)

Bailey says the Parks Highway opened up to two way traffic. “So traffic is flowing in both directions, there may be minimal delays as emergency equipment and firefighters are accessing the Parks and coming back and forth. That could change of course if fire behavior changes so again we always remind people to check 511.alaska.gov before you travel."

However, the Sterling Highway is still being impacted by the Swan Lake Fire. "The fire behavior continues to be really erratic, in addition to that, there's so much smoke that visibility is really impacted,” said Bailey, and she recommends anyone who doesn’t have to travel on the Sterling Highway to avoid the area. “There's lengthy delays, the visibility is really really poor and there is often active flame near the road so if people don't have to travel on the Sterling, we're asking them to stay away from there and let people who are fighting the fire and working the resources be able to focus on that versus focus on all the traffic.”

Bailey says when traveling around the state it’s always important to be prepared with water, snacks, and whatever else you may need if you get stuck from a road closure. “If you happen to be traveling through a fire zone, that's especially true right now, because we don't know when the roads may be opening or closing, and that can happen with really little notice depending on fire behavior, so we just ask that people are prepared for whatever situations they might encounter."

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