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Ice jam on Tanana River floods Salcha neighborhood

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Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 11:01 am | Updated: 1:02 pm, Wed Jan 16, 2013.

Editor's note:The ice jam broke Monday night and the water levels have fallen. We will have an updated story later Tuesday night.

FAIRBANKS - As is the case nearly every spring, an ice jam on the Tanana River in Salcha has caused some minor flooding in the Richardson Highway community 40 miles southeast of Fairbanks

The ice jam developed fairly quickly late Sunday night, said Fairbanks North Star Borough emergency operations director Dave Gibbs, who was in Salcha on Monday morning to assess the situation. He described the ice jam as “fairly significant.”

“I’m looking at it now and I can’t see the end of it,” Gibb said, speaking by cell phone.

The jam is causing the river to overflow its bank in the Boondox area near Mile 330 Richardson Highway and water is flowing into Piledriver Sough and surrounding areas. There are “at least” three or four homes surrounded by water and water is flowing across the Old Richardson Highway, making it impassable, Gibbs said.

“It’s pretty much the same area it is every spring,” he said

No residents have been evacuated or indicated they are in trouble, Gibbs said.

“Nobody’s asked for any assistance,” he said.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for the Tanana River at Salcha at 2:30 a.m. Monday and it will remain in effect until midnight tonight.

The borough will monitor the situation as it develops and is asking residents to alert officials if things change, Gibbs said.

“Hopefully the jam will release before a whole bunch more ice comes down and gets caught up,” he said.

Elsewhere, the Taylor Highway has been closed at Mile 125-126 due to water flowing over the road.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Maintenance and Operations crews are working to divert the water, but closures may persist for some time.

For the most current conditions please visit 511.Alaska.Gov or call 511.

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