Update | Feb. 5, 12:06 p.m.
The wait is over for residents in Valdez. The Richardson Highway is now completely open to motorists ahead of schedule.
The announcement comes after avalanches buried and flooded the roadway nearly two weeks ago.
Valdez residents now have complete access to the Richardson Highway thanks to crews spending most of the night and this morning removing avalanche debris and snow from the Keystone Canyon area.
Original Story | Feb. 5, 6:26 a.m.
After nearly two weeks, the Alaska Department of Transportation says the Richardson Highway in the Keystone Canyon area could reopen as soon as Wednesday.
Crews took advantage of favorable conditions and made significant progress in cleaning up the Keystone Canyon area.
Officials are confident that crews will have the area cleared by 3 p.m. Wednesday. DOT spokesperson Jeremy Woodrow says there maybe some cautions once it reopens.
“There may be some flaggers for the initial opening just in case there is a little bit of extra debris on the side of the roads, but they’re working on trying to clear as much of that debris and put it off the side of the road so that it isn’t an issue for traffic.”
DOT says the roadway is in good condition and can support both passenger and commercial vehicles.
The cleanup of the Keystone Canyon area of the Richardson Highway comes following nearly two weeks after being underwater to an avalanche.
- The state is granting nearly $300,000 to improve water quality in some of Alaska's most damaged watersheds, including Juneau's orange-tinted Duck Creek.
- More than a third of all the penalties imposed since 1976 were logged last year.
- "You know, we're not talking about some smoky, old wood stove here. We’re talking about high-tech equipment," said Daniel Parrent, a program manager at the U.S. Forest Service.
- "Did you think that ganging together seven different taxes would make it more likely or less likely that any would pass?” asked Eagle River Republican Rep. Dan Saddler.