DOT: Avalanches will keep Richardson Hwy. out of Valdez closed through Sunday

thanlon@adn.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Recent avalanche debris litters the mountains above Valdez on the morning of January 24, 2014. These slides occurred on Mile High Mountain to the north of the town.

MATT KINNEY

Multiple avalanches have closed a stretch of the Richardson Highway in the Thompson Pass area, cutting Valdez off from the Alaska road system until at least Sunday afternoon, said the state Department of Transportation.

Unstable conditions barred crews from cleaning up the slides. Avalanches from early Friday morning measured several hundred feet long and between 30 and 40 feet deep, said Jeremy Woodrow, DOT spokesman.

"These are some of the largest avalanches they've ever seen come down in Thompson Pass," he said.

DOT has closed the road from Mile 12 (about 12 miles north of Valdez) to Mile 64.

One driver, caught off guard by snow on the roadway, did not have time to stop and hit a snow berm shortly before 8 a.m. Friday, but was not injured, Woodrow said.

For updates, check 511.alaska.gov.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@adn.com or 257-4589.

 

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