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.”
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.