Sinkhole due to failed pipe closes part of busy East Anchorage intersection

A busy East Anchorage intersection could be closed into the weekend for repairs to a large sinkhole, authorities say.

The northbound lanes of Bragaw Street and the eastbound lanes of DeBarr Road closed Tuesday morning as crews got to work excavating the hole, which at that time measured approximately 6 feet by 20 feet.

The sinkhole first appeared around 5 p.m. Friday, said Paul VanLandingham, the municipality’s street maintenance manager. Road crews made a temporary repair to last through the weekend and on Tuesday began working on a permanent fix, he said.

A storm system pipe deteriorated under the road and caused the sinkhole to form, VanLandingham said.

Street maintenance crews on Tuesday were doing exploratory digging to see if they will be able to repair a patch of the pipe or will need to replace an entire section of it, he said.

The goal is to have the intersection reopened by Saturday, he said. It’s possible more lanes of the intersection will close Wednesday, he said.

There are up to 10 other sinkholes on municipal roads currently, though the others are much smaller than this one that formed near the intersection of Bragaw Street and Debarr Road, VanLandingham said, adding that some of the sinkholes were also caused by pipe failures. The city’s storm system pipes are more than 50 years old, according to VanLandingham. The heavy rain this summer has also meant that storm pipes are constantly in use.

In a separate, upcoming road closure, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities plans to make repairs at the intersection of 36th Avenue and A Street, where a sinkhole developed after a culvert failed, according to agency officials. The permanent repair work will span a weekend but has been delayed twice due to rain.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at