UPDATE: No unexploded mortar round located along Richardson Highway
Tuesday afternoon, the Richardson Highway shut down for about two hours, following a citizen report of a possible unexploded mortar round. However, Alaska State Troopers now confirm it was an incorrect report.
Instead of finding a "61mm mortar round" along mile post 352 – as originally reported by a 28-year-old Fairbanks resident – Troopers say they located a driveline.
"Turns out, it was a driveline," said Megan Peters, public information officer with AST. "Not an explosive at all."
Once this revelation was made, officials reopened the Richardson Highway at 5:26 p.m.
Additionally, AST is
investigating the citizen who made the incorrect report.
"He was a concerned citizen that called in what he thought was a suspicious item that could potentially be dangerous to the public," added Peters.
Also on scene was the Alaska Department of Transportation. They supported AST in setting up barricades and signs, while AST made contact with Eielson's EOD flight.
"In a situation like this, they [AST] do call us for support," states Caitlin Frye with Alaska DOT.
A report of a suspected unexploded mortar round has shut down the Richardson Highway, Tuesday afternoon.
According to Alaska State Troopers, a 28-year-old Fairbanks resident contacted authorities around 3:10 p.m. He reported that he believes a "61mm mortar round" is located near mile post 352.
As a result, the Richardson Highway has been shut down, between mile post 351 to 353.
Currently, traffic between Fairbanks and North Pole is being redirected through Badger Road, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation.
Troopers say they are at the scene. In addition, they are in communication with Eielson Air Force Base's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) flight.
At this time, Alaska DOT says they do not know how long this situation will take to resolve.