Matanuska-Susitna Borough

4 a.m. Flood and Road Updates

Mat-Su | Patty Sullivan | Friday, August 18, 2006

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER--The Parks Highway is closed at Mile 121 and is expected to be closed for a number of days due to severe road damage. The Parks Hwy is open to travelers from Anchorage to Trapper Creek until Mile 121. Travelers going to Fairbanks must take the Glenn Hwy to the Richardson Hwy. Travelers are advised to stay off the roads if at all possible. Crews are attempting to divert traffic from the affected areas.

The Willow side of Hatchers Pass is closed and the Department of Transportation has identified a low area at Willow Creek and anticipates flooding in this area. Montana Creek has crested the banks and is flowing across Montana Creek Road.

Creekside Road at Mile 46.5 Willow Fishhook Road (2 ½ miles in from Parks Hwy) has washed out. Two evacuations are in progress, possibly more.

Power is still reported to be out in the Willow area.

Emergency crews are advising homeowners off of Yoder Road and Montana Creek Road to evacuate. Montana Creek Road, ½ mile from the Parks Highway, is washed out. KTNA radio is announcing the evacuation. Transport buses are on standby to evacuate residents from the East Talkeetna Area if necessary. Borough and local responders have been monitoring key location ns in the Upper Susitna Valley to gauge the quickly rising water levels in area creeks and rivers, which is determined to be rising between 4 inches to 6 inches per hour at certain sites along the Talkeetna River.

At Mile 4.5 of the Petersville Road there is a 200 yard wide washout of the road, about 1 foot in depth with fast moving water across the road.

More sandbags are being brought into the Houston, Willow, and Talkeetna areas to assist with flooding in these areas. Sandbags are currently being transported to the Houston Fire Station.

There is currently a 25 foot washout of the bridge at the Troublesome Creek Bridge and the bridge has reportedly dropped a foot.

Culverts are plugged at Goose Creek and this area is also taking on water.

Water is reported to be 2 ½ to 3 feet over the banks at the Miller's Market.

Flooding is also being reported in Houston off of King Arthur Drive.

Water is reported to be at the banks of Moose Creek at Petersville Road and is flowing swiftly at this time. The water level is currently 14 inches below the bridge. A number of structures north of the bridge are experience flooding.

Rocks and debris are reported on the Palmer Fishhook Road in the Hatcher Pass area prior to the bridge and the road is reported to still be passable at this time. The Alaska State Troopers are investigating the possible closure of North Shushana Road off of Schrock Road due to flooding in that area.

A cabin has fallen into the Little Su River at Mile 8.3 of the Wasilla Fishhook Road. The power lines are secured and Enstar is on location n securing the open gas line.

Creeks and rivers in the Sutton area are reported to be rushing quickly and the levels are at the banks. Bridges in this area are reported in good condition at this time.

Other areas of concern currently reported:

The water level is currently three feet below the bridge at the Edgerton Parks Bridge, and there is two feet of water coming over the road at North Shushana Drive off of Schrock Road.

A landslide has been reported at Mile 219 of the Parks Highway and last reported the road is still passable.

Shelters are open at the Willow Community Center, Larson Elementary School, and Su Valley High. Incident Commander Dennis Brodigan has asked residents who live in low-lying areas along swelling rivers and creeks to have an exit plan.

Sandbags are available to the public at two location ns. The public is allowed to pick up and fill sandbags at the new DOT lot at mile 71.2 on the Parks Highway in Willow or at the Central Landfill on 49th State Street in the Core Area. The Borough is staging them and assessing waterways. The Borough expects it will have more than 4,400 sandbags to use and has ordered more.

Borough Manager John Duffy and Borough Mayor Tim Anderson have requested a formal state disaster declaration from the Governor. Earlier Gov. Frank Murkowski issued a press release extending his help. Borough Mayor Tim Anderson signed a disaster declaration this afternoon for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The Borough activated an Emergency Operations Center earlier this afternoon. State Troopers and Department of Transportation are working with the Borough.

The National Weather Service has forecasted heavy rain to continue in the Talkeetna Mountains and across Southcentral Alaska throughout the night. The flood warning remains in effect until Sunday.

A disaster declaration means the incident has gone above normal operation levels and Borough resources are being taxed.