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Alaska News

‘A screeching halt’: Forest Fair crowds snarl traffic between Anchorage and Girdwood

  • Author: Devin Kelly
  • Updated: July 8, 2018
  • Published July 7, 2018

There was epic traffic on the Seward Highway Saturday, officials said, as crowds flocked to the Girdwood Forest Fair and Kenai Peninsula to make the most of a warm, sunny day.

By the early afternoon, traffic was backed up at least a half mile on the southbound Seward Highway, according to Kendra Doshier, a spokeswoman with the Anchorage Police Department.

Anchorage police warned that Sunday traffic into Girdwood could be equally bad. "Please plan ahead and be safe," police said.

Michelle Weston, the chief of the Girdwood fire department, said more than 200 cars were waiting to turn onto the Alyeska Highway toward Girdwood from the Seward Highway as of about 5 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, on the Alyeska Highway, traffic was "at a standstill," Weston said. All of the parking lots in Girdwood were full. People were starting to park in residential areas, Weston said.

Weston said the fire department had so far towed one car that was parked in front of a fire hydrant.

On top of the parking issues, the thousands of extra visitors Saturday brought other types of calls, especially heat exhaustion, Weston said. She said the fire department had responded to 18 incidents overall since Forest Fair started on Friday.

Some of the crowds were expected to subside around dinnertime, as families headed home and night visitors came out, Weston said.