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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 18, 2020
Press Release: 20-0019
Contact: Shannon McCarthy (907) 269-0448, Shannon.McCarthy@alaska.gov

DOT&PF will blast a large rock mass on Seward Highway at MP 108
Drivers asked to expect extended closure to remove fallen rock

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – Staff with the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Seward Highway Rock Fall Mitigation project will be blasting rock on the Seward Highway, at MP 108, to bring down a large rock mass.

It is estimated that the rock in question weighs 2 to 3 million pounds and has the potential to significantly affect the highway if it came down on its own. The rock mass has shifted from the surrounding cliff, making immediate removal necessary. By removing the rock in a controlled manner, the department will protect public safety, reduce damage to the highway and overall impacts to traffic.

The construction team will close the highway, strategically place blasting materials, protect the highway with blasting mats, blast the rock, and remove the fallen material as expeditiously as possible. Travelers should expect continued flagging operations as crews prepare.

The fallen debris may take some time to clear. Drivers should anticipate highway closures of at least four hours, starting at 9 am, Friday, March 20. Once the highway is reopened, drivers should expect long delays Friday as the contractor continues to remove debris.

This work is part of an emergency project started earlier this month to deal with specific sections of the Seward Highway at MP 108 and MP 110 that were weakened and are at risk of falling onto the highway. Mitigation measures include wire mesh, rock bolting and scaling (removing specific rocks). Work is anticipated to be completed in mid-April.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 776 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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