BETHEL, Alaska — Despite being one of the warmest winters on record, tribes along the Kuskokwim River have created the region’s longest ice road.

KYUK-AM reported Wednesday that the road stretches 200 miles (322 kilometers) from Bethel upstream to Crooked Creek.

The region’s ice road has never before reached Crooked Creek.

Many open holes still perforate the ice, but the freezing and thawing has created a glassy surface that is easy for crews to plow. Equipment upgrades have allowed crews to avoid constant breakdowns like past winters.

Building the ice road provides employment during a time of year when seasonal work is hard to come by. It gives residents, businesses and government agencies the ability to avoid hefty plane tickets.

Information from: KYUK-AM,

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