Alaska News

Landslide near Cooper Landing causes Sterling Highway traffic delays

A landslide closed part of the Sterling Highway just west of Cooper Landing early Thursday, according to state transportation officials.

Crews were able to clear the debris quickly and the road was reopened just after 8 a.m. to one lane, with a pilot car leading drivers through the area, according to a traffic alert. Drivers should expect to encounter flaggers and single-lane closure delays at Mile 57 of the highway during the morning.

It was a “creek slide” that occurred around Mile 57 of the Kenai Peninsula highway, according to Jill Reese, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Transportation. Fuller Creek, which normally runs above the highway, broke loose and caused water and debris to rush down toward the road.

Reese said it’s not clear what caused the sudden burst of water but noted it could have come from an ice jam. Snowmelt and ice jams have caused flooding through many portions of the state this spring.

The creek’s water normally runs into a culvert and flows underneath the highway, she said, but instead the flood of water and debris broke off and covered three portions of the highway. The area where the slide happened is in the middle of an ongoing highway reconstruction project.