Warmer weather makes travel by ice road dangerous for trucks
Warm spring temperatures are starting to degrade the Kuskokwim Ice Road. Mark Leary, who leads the Kuskokwim Ice Road Crew for the Native Village of Napaimute, says that the ice conditions are deteriorating despite recent chilly weather. “You have to be very cautious,” Leary said. “I wouldn't recommend people that aren't experienced to be out there.”
Leary says areas to be completely avoided due to dangerous conditions include Straight Slough, the bend above Napaskiak, the bend below Akiak, and the Bogus Creek area.
In certain areas of the river, the Ice Road Crew has noticed four inch decreases in ice thickness in multiple areas.
On March 30, following a day of warm temperatures, a truck fell through the ice just below Akiak. Bethel Search and Rescue volunteers were able to retrieve the vehicle, but the group no longer advises truck travel between Akiak and Bethel.
Leary says travel by snow machine and four wheeler is expected to be safe for now, but he recommends using caution and looking out for potholes in the ice.
“It feels like winter. It's not, it's spring,” Leary reminds travelers. “The sun is strong and there's changes going on out there every day. You have to be careful and observant.”