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.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.