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Freezing rain and icy roads cause dozens of crashes and close Anchorage schools

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: January 25, 2019
  • Published January 25, 2019

Icy roads amid freezing rain and rising temperatures early Friday closed Anchorage schools and university campuses, stalled traffic on the Glenn Highway and contributed to multiple collisions and road closures in Eagle River.

The Anchorage School District closed all schools Friday because of icy roads.

District officials made that decision around 4:45 a.m. after tracking weather overnight, district spokeswoman Catherine Esary said Friday morning.

“It was determined that our buses just could not make the routes safely. I don’t think private individuals could either,” Esary said. “We just knew Eagle River and all around the Anchorage Bowl, it was just too dangerous.”

Most after-school activities for middle and high schools also were canceled for Friday, but Saturday activities were set to go on as scheduled, ASD said.

Exceptions to Friday cancellations included the West High School Alaska Airlines Classic basketball tournament, the South Anchorage High School Drama, Debate and Forensics tournament, and a hockey game between South and Dimond at Ben Boeke Arena.

The University of Alaska Anchorage and Alaska Pacific University also closed their campuses.

A vehicle drives through a large puddle on the Old Glenn Highway in Eagle River on Friday. Temperatures in the 40s and icy conditions led the Anchorage School District to cancel classes. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

Chugach Electric restored power to about 2,500 customers after a morning outage believed to have been wind-related.

Two units at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson were on “mission essential reporting” Friday due to road conditions, according to an update from the base. The units are the 673rd Air Base Wing and the 3rd Wing.

Police said in a 6:50 a.m. alert that Glenn Highway traffic was stalled at the Fort Richardson exit with “multiple vehicles in distress” on the highway. Multiple collisions in Eagle River were also causing road closures, police said.

As of about 8 a.m. Friday, police had tallied more than 30 accidents, about half of them collisions and the rest vehicles in the ditch, a spokesman said. Most were concentrated on the Glenn Highway or in Eagle River but there were reports from around the city.

The forecast calls for rain showers continuing through the day, with temperatures rising into the low 40s and winds up to 30 mph.