By Melinda Munson
Record-breaking storms, beginning Dec. 2, 2020, caused multiple mudslides on Dyea Road. The narrow, twisting roadway took weeks to clear and remains closed to anyone who does not own or rent property along the route.
“We don’t want recreation traffic out there,” said Sam Dapcevich, public information officer for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT).
He could not offer an estimated date for when permanent repairs would commence or when the road would be open to general traffic. At the time of the interview, DOT crews were focused on avalanche mitigation along the Klondike Highway.
Resident Lynne Davison described Dyea road as mired with “washouts, ruts, gullies and extensive potholes.”
“It’s getting too dangerous to drive,” she said.
“It’s more risk than one should have to take in order to buy milk and pick up the mail.”
Mayor Andrew Cremata estimated that 40-50 homes use the Dyea Road to access food, school and employment in Skagway.
Assemblymember Orion Hanson said he has two employees that live in Dyea who have been unable to get to work, noting they “don’t feel safe.”
We need action on this,” Hanson said. “It needs to be a priority.”
Cremata reported he had contacted DOT and local legislators. He described their responses as “placating.” Cremata said his next step would be to reach out to the borough attorney.
“None of this reflects on our local DOT crew,” Cremata said, placing responsibility with upper DOT management.