AD Main Menu

Seward Highway reopened between Anchorage and Girdwood

Casey Grove
Mountain View during the snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Clouds hang low over the Kenai Mountains across from the Seward Highway next to Turnagain Arm on Wednesday, January 11,
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Paul Bergeron clears some snow off a roof while doing a siding job in Mountain View on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
An accident on 5th Avenue near the Captain Cook hotel resulted in a snowmachine landing on the sidewalk of the hotel. A pickup truck carrying the snowmachine was involved in the crash with a car early afternoon, Thursday, January 12, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Traffic moves down Minnesota Drive as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station as of Tuesday. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Traffic moves along the the Seward Highway next to Turnagain Arm after the an avalanche was cleared from the road just after noon on Wednesday, January 11,
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Steve Vogel blows snow off the roof of The Odom Corporation Coca Cola Alaska headquarters building near Ship Creek on Friday, January 13, 2012. This is the second time this year that the roof has been cleared of snow.
Bob Hallinen / Anchorage Daily News
Snow plows drive drive down L Street as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station as of Tuesday. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Wind howling in the Bear Valley area left a vehicle stuck on Clark's Road near Rabbit Creek Road on Tuesday afternoon, January 10, 2012.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Wind drifted snow forms along side the road to the small boat launch in Anchorage on Friday, January 13, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Don Guthrie, Frampton and Opinsky, blows snow off the sidewalks in front of 420 L Street as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station as of Tuesday. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Wind-deposited snow rises to almost four feet against an Anchorage Hillside garage door on Tuesday afternoon, January 10, 2012.
Richard J. Murphy
Wind drifted snow forms along side the road to the small boat launch in Anchorage on Friday, January 13, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Don Guthrie, Frampton and Opinsky, blows snow off the sidewalks in front of 420 L Street as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station as of Tuesday. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
In the lee of winds gusting to over 80 mph, ice builds up on an Anchorage HIllside doorway Tuesday afternoon, January 12, 2012.
Richard J. Murphy
Snow drapes the broad shoulders of Atlas on the roof of the Anchorage Fur Factory in Downtown Anchorage on Friday, January 13, 2012.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Ron Kahl, of Straightline Pavement Maintenance, shovel the sidewalk in front of The 5th Avenue Building as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station as of Tuesday. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Drifting snow blocks an Anchorage Hillside home on Tuesday afternoon, January 10, 2012.
Richard J. Murphy
Mountain View during the snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Shane Duff and Ralph Barger, of Straightline Pavement Maintenance, shovel the sidewalk in front of The 5th Avenue Building as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station as of Tuesday. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
The sun sets through a pane of glass plastered with frozen streaks of wind-blown snow on the Anchorage Hillside Tuesday afternoon, January 10, 2012.
Richard J. Murphy
Ron Rohl blows snow off the roof of The Odom Corporation Coca Cola Alaska headquarters building near Ship Creek on Friday, January 13, 2012. This is the second time this year that the roof has been cleared of snow.
Bob Hallinen / Anchorage Daily News
A snow machine rests on the side walk next to the Captain Cook Hotel after a two vehicle accident on 5th Avenue as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. The snow machine was on the back of a pickup truck involved in the accident. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Snow drifts around the caretaker's building at the Glen Alps trailhead of Chugach State Park late Monday, January 9, 2011.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Fine shovels the sidewalk around his apartment in Mountain View during a snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Bartender Carolyn Joy shovels out the front of Gwennie's Old Alaska Restaurant as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Snow drifts around trees and blows from Chugach Mountain ridges in this view from near the Glen Alps Trailhead late Monday, January 9, 2011.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Dale Fine shovels the sidewalk around his apartment in Mountain View during a snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Dave Bronson sweeps snow of the wing of a friends plane on Lake Hood as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage, AK area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Traffic moves slowly on Hillside Drive Tuesday afternoon, January 10, 2011, as strong wind and blowing snow create low visibility.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Mountain View during the snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Layers of snow are evident on in snow atop a motor home in west Anchorage as another big snow fall hit the Anchorage area on Thursday, January 12, 2012. Anchorage has received an official 81.3 inches of snow at the airport measuring station as of Tuesday. Meteorologist Shaun Baines said that makes it the snowiest period for Anchorage since records have been kept.
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
A pedestrian walks down a snow covered street in Mountain View during the snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Onofre Jimenez shovels a friend's driveway in Mt. View duringThursday's (January 12, 2012) snowstorm.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Mountain View during the snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
14-year-old Doug Hamrick shovels snow off of his family's roof Thursday, Jan.12, 2012, in Anchorage. The National Weather Service is predicting a total snowfall of 8 to 16 inches today, putting Anchorage on track to have the snowiest winter on record.
Loren Holmes / AP2012
Mountain View during the snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
An Alaska Railroad plow clears the tracks along the Seward Highway next to Turnagain Arm near Bird on Wednesday, January 11,
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Onofre Jimenez shovels a friend's driveway in Mountain View during the snowstorm on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Another significant snow storm is reducing visibility for drivers in Anchorage on Thursday morning, Jan. 12, 2012.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

The Seward Highway reopened Wednesday after a roughly 26-hour closure between Mile 90 to 100, according to the Alaska transportation department. Meanwhile, Southcentral residents and road crews were bracing for another massive dump of snow heading into today.

The highway shutdown between Anchorage and Girdwood, due to blinding snow and avalanche danger, ended at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. Another 8 to 16 inches of snow and blustery winds were in the forecast, the National Weather Service said.

To get the Seward Highway open, crews triggered a snow slide to the south of Bird Creek on Tuesday and worked that night and early Wednesday to clean up debris burying the highway, said DOT spokesman Rick Feller. Further avalanche assessment and control work took place Wednesday morning, Feller said. None of the artillery shots that were fired released an avalanche and the conditions were deemed safe enough to reopen the highway, he said.

"We really had to wait for daybreak to see what's going on with the avalanche conditions," Feller said. "You never know the degree of success you're going to have with each (artillery) shot. If we have a big release like we had yesterday with our controlled release, it will require more cleanup and more time."

Feller said he was impressed with the public's understanding and patience with the highway closure, which had essentially cut off Anchorage from most communities to the south.

"A common theme I'm hearing is 'I'd much prefer spending a night in Anchorage than spending a night along the Seward Highway,' " he said.

The state transportation workers are keeping a close eye on another wallop of snow expected to hit Southcentral Wednesday night and today, Feller said.

According to a weather service forecast posted late Wednesday, Anchorage was forecast to receive 8 to 16 inches of snow overnight and through the day today. Strong winds at high elevations and along Turnagain Arm are expected to again create hazardous driving conditions, the weather service said.

Feller said cleanup efforts Tuesday and Wednesday will help with the impending snow.

"Getting ready for the next event is all about cleaning up from the prior event," he said.

Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

Reader photos: 2011 Alaska winter
By CASEY GROVE
Anchorage Daily News