SRO Update for April 19, 2018

April 19, 2018 Posted by: Riley Tingue, Road Crew Supervisor
Current Plow Crew Work Locations: Starting up Highway Pass from mile 57.5. The snow depth is starting to increase significantly, as it usually does in this area, but with the higher snow amount in comparison to the past several years it has slowed us down even more. Also working up hill with heavy snow from the above freezing temps during the day time and below freezing at night, has created a bit of a brick wall. Even the larger D8 bulldozer is struggling to push the weight.

Steam Crew Locations: Still no ice so the steam crew is making preparations for our repair of the Pretty Rocks slump

Snow Depths: 6 feet across the road and 15 foot drifts

Aufeis Depths: Zero

Road Open to: Savage Cabin gate (~Mile 14). After tomorrow's predicted snow is dealt with, we look to have the road open to Teklanika Rest Stop early next week. We are still working on some drifts in the mile 18 to 20 range and also some soft road conditions before we open it to the public.

Equipment Status: The D7R bulldozer was repaired last week and is leading the battle with the rental D8. The D8 was down yesterday but the rental company was able to make a speedy repair and we are back up and running today. A big thanks to our auto shop and the rental company for keeping us going.

Current Weather Forecast

Current Weather at HQ: 30 above with a potential high of 40 later today.

Wildlife Sightings: All animals seen from the last report on 4/7/18; bear tracks seen in Igloo Forest on 4/8, as well as the first Arctic ground squirrel of the season. 2 foxes on Sable Pass multiple times, including a black one on the Plains of Murie, several lynx (up to three at a time) in Igloo Forest over several days, moose in Hogan Canyon over several days, porcupine on Primrose, a wolf in Igloo Canyon, a wolf at Toklat River, and a coyote at Toklat.

Notes/Observations/Comments: The rate of SRO has been slow in comparison to years past and all of our target dates for reaching locations have been far behind our expectations. Now that we have reached Highway Pass, I expect that this trend will continue. The above-freezing day time temps and volume of snow will also contribute to a much slower pace. Many people have asked me when we expect to get to a certain location and we simply don't know. We are trying to get to the end of the road as quickly, efficiently, and as safely as we can. The crew morale is still high; I've never heard them cackle like this before in the seven SRO's I've been through.

Pretty Rocks slump is impressive to say the least. See below for a photo. We will be using the material from above the road to fill in the void to a certain degree. This material is light in weight and certainly abundant. This repair is only expected to last through the season and still require maintenance through the summer season as gravity does not take breaks for visitors.
 
a truck driving downhill on a steep dirt road atop a mountain covered in snow
Pretty Rocks Slump

NPS Photo

Last updated: April 19, 2018

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