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UPDATE: Sterling Highway reopened to pilot car operations amid thick smoke

 Sterling Highway smoke from Swan Lake Fire source Division of Forestry
Sterling Highway smoke from Swan Lake Fire source Division of Forestry (KTUU)
Published: Jun. 26, 2019 at 9:03 AM AKDT
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Pilot car operations have resumed on the Sterling Highway in areas of thick smoke, according to Department of Transportation spokesperson Shannon McCarthy.

Earlier Wednesday, the Department had announced a closure at milepost 69 for three or more hours.

DOT says the fire is affecting the area between milepost 58 to 75.

DOT is telling drivers to use caution when traveling through the area.

They say it's hard to see out there because of the smoke and that people driving through the area should expect delays.

DOT is recommending people bring extra food and water and top off their gas tanks before getting to the area, as they anticipate long waits.

By noon Wednesday, McCarthy said the wait in the pilot car line is between an hour and 90 minutes, and drivers should be prepared for the delays.

The pilot cars can take only up to about 80 cars in each run because of the limited visibility and fire apparatus on the side of the highway.

For updates on current road condition, you can monitor

or call 511.

Copyright 2019 KTUU. All rights reserved.

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