Alaska Highway Slowly Reopening After Washouts in Yukon Territory
FAIRBANKS — Part of the Alaska Highway remained closed Saturday because of washouts and mudslides in Yukon Territory but the highway was reopened to Haines Junction, allowing motorists to enter and leave the state via ferry.
A 150-mile stretch of the highway remained closed between Watson Lake and Teslin, stranding overland motorists heading into or out of Alaska.
Flooding and mudslides as a result of heavy rain and snow melt washed away or buried sections of the only road leading into Alaska on Friday. Yukon road crews had to wait until the water levels dropped before they could begin repairs.
By Saturday morning, crews had reopened the road between Haines Junction and Destruction Bay.
There was only one lane of traffic for about a three-mile stretch between miles 983 and 986.
About 100 people remained stranded at a lodge between Watson Lake and Teslin, with a mudslide covering the road on one side and a washout on the other.
Suzette Tixier at the Tok Convention and Visitors Bureau said many motorists opted to drive over the Top of the World Highway between Tok and Dawson City when they arrived in Tok on Saturday and found out the Alaska Highway was closed.
“We sent 20 or 30 people over the Top of the World Highway,” she said. “There was no other choice at 8 a.m. That was the only way out.”
It was about 10:15 a.m. that the road to Haines Junction opened, allowing motorists to take the ferry, she said.
Marsha Squires at Tok RV Village said a few people stopped at the RV park Tok to wait and see what happens with the roads.
“We had a couple that went to the border and came back,” she said.
For updates on the highway throughout the weekend, check www.511yukon.ca/.
Contact the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newsroom at 907-459-7572.