After flooding, snow and ice jams, Deneki road traffic restored

Heavy equipment clears a channel in Willow Creek near the Deneki Meadows Bridge to relieve flooding (Photo: via Matanuska-Susitna Borough Facebook page)

Weeks of ice and flooding across an access road in Willow are over for now. Maintenance crews working with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough have managed to restore vehicle traffic for residents who live across the Deneki Meadows Bridge, although there may be delays as trucks haul chunks of ice off the roadway.

Since the end of December, an ice jam in Willow Creek has forced water up and over the road and into people’s homes. Snow and weeks of deep cold further complicated efforts to restore access to a subdivision in the area with approximately 31 homes, at least three of which were damaged by flooding, according to Emergency Services Director Ken Barkley. Many residents stayed put, coordinating with rescue officials to cross the area and arrange for supplies to be delivered, but otherwise cut off from the road system.

Since last week, contractors have been running heavy equipment in sub-zero temperatures to clear a trench in the river ice for water to flow through. That’s made the roadway passable for just about all types of vehicles needing to get back and forth.

“That water is staying below the ice for the most part,” said Public Works Director Terry Dolan in a video posted to the Borough’s Facebook page. “And that’s where we want it. Because the channel of this creek runs down below the ice, and it’ll contain that water for us.”

Willow Creek Ice Dam Mitigation Day 2

Borough contractors continued to improve the flow in Willow Creek today. Water flowing out of the flooded area stopped moving overnight and froze in place, which tells us yesterday’s channel opening work was successful in returning the flow into the creek.Late today, contractors improved road conditions to allow service vehicle access to Deneki Meadows Bridge and the homes beyond it. Even though the bypass road is improved, a four-wheel drive vehicle is still recommended, as a sudden warming could soften the road surface.Tomorrow we will continue to monitor flow in the Creek, maintain the channel to prevent additional ice jams and make further improvements to the access road.

Posted by Matanuska-Susitna Borough on Friday, January 10, 2020

Crews broke down ice flows that had piled up under the bridge and moved them on shore. The next step is removing a shaped layer of ice frozen over parts of the road to ensure any early high temperatures don’t thaw and re-freeze.

In it’s final press release about the situation, the Borough advises residents to expect short delays transiting the area.

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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah

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