Dalton Highway
© UnknownDalton Highway
Fairbanks - A severe winter storm hit Alaska's Brooks Range on Wednesday, stranding numerous trucks on the Dalton Highway amid heavy drifting snow, high winds and zero visibility.

The Alaska Department of Transportation said that conditions are forcing maintenance crews to withdraw from a 110-mile stretch of the Dalton Highway in the Atigun Pass area. Travel is not advised because of the poor conditions, which include winds of 50-60 mph. "They just can't keep it open," said DOT spokeswoman Meadow Bailey. "They plow through it, and it just blows over again." An undetermined number of trucks also are stuck between 275 Mile and 305 Mile, according to DOT.

Bailey said drivers are being retrieved from trucks stuck in the roadway, but most appear to be staying put while parked along the side of the road. Bailey said it's the fourth weather-related closure of the Dalton Highway this year. Before that, she said the Dalton hadn't been closed for at least a few years. The recent storms have caused trucks to stack up on both ends of the closed area.

Ben Krzykowski, who owns Ben's Auto and Truck Repair, has spent the past week pulling out stuck vehicles when weather allows it. He said there were at least 50 trucks piled into the Coldfoot Camp parking lot last Saturday. "There was basically no room to park in there," he said. An additional 10 trucks are parked at the other end of the closure at the Sagavanirktok River DOT station until conditions improve, Bailey said.