Update, 4:15 p.m. Thursday: The Seward Highway reopened on Thursday afternoon, the Alaska Department of Transportation said, after closures south of Portage due to heavy snowfall.
The Seward Highway was closed from near Portage south through Turnagain Pass on Thursday morning due to heavy snowfall, authorities said.
Additional snow removal operators and equipment from Anchorage and Crown Point were brought in to help clear the highway early Thursday afternoon, said Shannon McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Transportation.
It’s unclear when the roadway will be reopened, but McCarthy said she is hopeful conditions will improve later in the afternoon.
The closure follows days of heavy snowfall in the area from a massive storm bringing moisture in from the Gulf of Alaska.
“There’s about 18 inches of new snow -- heavy and wet snow, on top of the snow that was already there," McCarthy said.
There were about 15 cars waiting for the road to reopen Thursday afternoon, McCarthy said.
A post on the Facebook group Kenai Peninsula Roads and Highways Updates said a semi truck had jackknifed near the pass and was blocking the road. Several tractor-trailers had been stuck in the snow Thursday, McCarthy said.
Also on Thursday, the DOT was doing avalanche mitigation work along the Seward Highway in the Girdwood and Portage areas.
There is a high avalanche danger throughout the region, according to the Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center.
Check back for updates.