Alaska News

Unstable ice wall along Turnagain Arm prompts traffic diversion on Seward Highway

Traffic is being diverted on the Seward Highway along Turnagain Arm after an ice wall released early Thursday and impacted the road, the state’s transportation department said.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities posted on Twitter that parts of an ice wall at Mile 113 fell early Thursday morning. Justin Shelby, a spokesman for the department, said it left ice chunks in both lanes of the road, but that crews were able to plow it away and reopen the road “pretty quickly.” Crews had been monitoring that area and others before the incident, he said.

Crews set up a traffic diversion “until conditions allow the ice wall to re-freeze and stabilize,” the department wrote on social media. Department staff “constantly” monitor for potential impacts from falling ice, Shelby said.

“This type of thing is not uncommon, and it is weather-related in this case,” he said, referring to higher temperatures in Anchorage lately.

Shelby said it’s important for drivers to be aware of the diversion, as more ice could come down in that location. The ice wall won’t stabilize until temperatures drop and it begins to freeze again.

As far as how long that could take, Shelby said it’s “a wait-and-see situation.”