Army, DOT will 'try' to give motorists convoy information
'We don't know the details, always' DOT says; Army says operational security will limit release of information
The Army will pick up the pace of moving soldiers and equipment to a range near Fort Greely this week for a big field-training exercise. And both the Army and state Department of Transportation will try to let residents know when they might run into long, slow-moving convoys on highways around the Interior.
U.S. Army Alaska has for weeks now been running convoys up the Parks Highway from Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson to Fort Wainwright and then down the Richardson Highway to the Donnelly Training Area. And this week, they’ll begin the big push to have everything in place for the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Capability exercise.
“March 8th, there’s going to be some small training movements, and then after the 8th, you’ll probably see some larger training movements in that Delta-Fort Greely area,” says Danielle Tessen, a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation.
Tessen says the Army has informed DOT that there will be many convoys this week, and then fewer during the exercise, which runs through March 24th. After that, they’ll ramp up the convoys to haul all the personnel and equipment back to Fort Wainwright and JBER.
“So, there’s going to be stuff happening with the convoys in the Delta-Fort Greely area all of March and the start of April,” she said in an interview last week.
U.S. Army Alaska officials say the exercise will bring up to 10-thousand military personnel into the Donnelly Training Area. Tessen says DOT has been working with USARAK over the past couple of weeks to arrange for the command to give DOT information on when convoys will be on the road. And then DOT will post that information on its traveler-advisory website, 511.alaska.gov, as quickly as possible.
“We don’t the know details, always,” she says, “and those dates are subject to change – and we’re not always the first to know.”
The information flow also will be limited by security concerns. A Fort Greely spokesperson says that means Army officials may provide only general information about convoy movements, for example, stating they’ll be moving sometime on a timeframe like between noon and 6 p.m. on a given day. Tessen says DOT will relay as much information as it can.
“So we keep those updates a little general,” she said, “just to share the information that we have on 511 to try and help people who are planning for their trips.”
A U.S. Army Alaska spokesperson says the command will post general information on the convoy movements to both the USARAK and Fort Greely Facebook pages.