AD Header Dropdowns

AD Main Menu

Alaska Highway opens in Yukon after 4-day shutdown

Scott Woodham

Watson Lake, Yukon, Canada -- Authorities canvassed the town Monday night looking for tractor-trailer drivers to give the good news: The siege of Watson Lake has lifted.

The temporary bridge and road were finally approved by an engineer, and the Alaska Highway closure between Teslin and Junction 37, just north of Watson Lake, was rescinded after four days.

By Tuesday morning, all of the semi trucks seen lining the frontage roads here since Friday had left for Whitehorse. Some private vehicles left during the night, but many remained to make a fresh start in the morning.

Authorities have told everyone hitting the road to expect "lengthy delays," but really the lengthy delay started for many Friday. Waiting in line for a pilot car, even for hours, is a blessing at this point.

The washout of the Alaska Highway between Destruction Bay and Haines Junction began late last week, leaving many travelers stranded in Watson Lake in the Yukon Territory.

Although there were reports of dwindling supplies in Whitehorse and other highway communities caused by the interruption of supply routes, shelves and restaurants in Watson Lake experienced no shortages, despite the stranded travelers and flood evacuees from nearby communities swelling the population by more than 100.