EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER--Rising waters are threatening two bridges in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the Shirley Towne Bridge in Willow and the Moose Meadows Bridge near Schrock Drive and Carney Road outside Wasilla. The Parks Highway is open. The National Weather Service predicted water could reach the Parks by tonight. Water was reported on Johnson Road near mile 71.5 of the Parks Highway, but not on the Parks.
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.
Emergency responders knocked on doors in Willow near the Shirley Towne Bridge, asking residents to evacuate. The number of residents is not known at the moment. A shelter is open at the Willow Community Center.
Near Hatcher Pass, residents along the Little Susitna River near Wasilla-Fishhook Road gave reports of flooding. At least six homes on Shorty Street, and more homes off Edgerton Parks Road were threatened.
Public Works has sent a crew to Moose Meadows Bridge to attempt to shore up the bridge.
A second shelter is open nearby at Larson Elementary off Seldon Road. Sutton Elementary, and Su Valley High are on standby for shelters.
The National Weather Service has forecasted heavy rain in the Talkeetna Mountains throughout the night. Rain is expected through Saturday.
At the Talkeetna Command Post, Johnny Murdock reports that the rivers and creeks have not reached flood stage, but the water is rising rapidly. Tomorrow sandbags will be placed on dikes along the Talkeetna River in Talkeetna if the water continues to rise. The public is allowed to pick up and fill sandbags at the new DOT lot at mile 71.2 on the Parks Highway or at the Central Landfill. No sandbags have been deployed yet. 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. The Municipality of Anchorage is sending sandbags.
A disaster declaration means the incident has gone above normal operation levels and Borough resources are being taxed.
For more information visit the Borough Web site at www.matsugov.us or tune into local radio and TV stations.