Alaska declared a state of emergency last week as rampant river flooding –and freezing temperatures– have made the only road that reaches its largest oil field almost impossible to cross.
The few trucks that have made it through have had to face several feet of water and at times have to drive alongside a river that was higher than the road itself.
The state’s DOT is working with private contractors to carve a passable road out of the three feet of ice blanketing the Dalton. Next week, crews will attempt to melt the ice with black sand dropped from crop planes.
Until then, between 100 and 150 trucks are waiting in Fairbanks for passable conditions. Truckers who regularly drive in Alaska are used to facing challenging weather conditions, but not to the length of time that they have been forced off of the road.
The delays have been costly for everyone, including some owner-operators who will have to absorb the cost of the delays.
Officials say the natural disaster has not disrupted oil production.