Public Urged Not to Drive on Forest Roads Statewide During Spring Melt: Urgent Mat-Su Advisory Issued

Gravel forest roads are extremely soft and muddy while the snow melts. Public are urged to look for advisories on spring road advisories in their area. Currently the Mat-Su Borough has issued an urgent advisory for public to avoid driving on gravel forest roads in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley until May 23. Well known roads include Zero Lake, Willer-Kash, and Buffalo Mine Roads. Travel on the roads in these conditions can create deep ruts that can channel runoff and further degrade the road surface, causing costly repairs. An additional risk is that a vehicle could get stuck creating an expensive recovery for the owner. A little patience now will help prevent significant damage and further disruptions, ensuring continued access to the personal use firewood sites along these roads.

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In the Fairbanks area, advisories asking public to refrain from travel began mid-April. Affected logging roads include Cache Creek, Nenana Ridge, Rosie Creek, Skinnys, Bonanza, Standard Creek, Maisch, Two Rivers and Mosquito Creek.

These silt-based roads become extremely soft and muddy during spring breakup, which makes them susceptible to damage from vehicles and ATVs. Traffic in these tenuous conditions creates ruts, which channels runoff from snow melt and causes roads to wash out, according to Fairbanks Area Resource Forester Kevin Meany. Some roads become impassable and motorists risk getting stuck and having their vehicles mired in mud up to their axles. “If roads are severely damaged by traffic and/or runoff during spring breakup, it can cost thousands of dollars to fix them later and traffic will be restricted until they are repaired,” Meany said. “Getting stuck or ruining a road at this time of year isn’t worth a load of firewood.”

Categories: AK Fire Info, Alaska DNR - Division of Forestry (DOF)

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