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No.: 12-2503
Contact: Rick Feller, 907-269-0772,

Seward Highway and Whittier Tunnel Closed from Potter Marsh to Girdwood
DOT&PF Responds to Winter Storm

(Anchorage, Alaska)—A winter snow storm and two early morning avalanches have combined to create extremely dangerous driving conditions, prompting the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Faculties to close the Seward Highway between Potter Marsh and Girdwood.  This closure is effective from 9:00am and will extend until further notice.

Reported conditions on the highway are of white-out conditions with little to no visibility, drifting snow and severe winter storm conditions.  The traveled way was reduced to one lane in certain segments.

The avalanches occurred in the McHugh Creek area and slide debris reached the northbound lane of the Seward Highway.  Assessments of the avalanche events and conditions may justify avalanche risk reduction work along the highway during the closure.

In addition, there will be intermittent closures for avalanche work today in Turnagain Arm area between Milepost 99-82 (Bird Flats to Twenty Mile River) and on the Kenai Peninsula between milepost 45-18 (Summit Lake Lodge/Sterling Y/Kenai Lake).  Motorists should expect delays of up to 45 minutes between 11:00AM and 3:00PM.    

Similar conditions in Portage Valley have also prompted the closure of the Whittier Tunnel.

Further south, the Kenai Peninsula was the first in line for the storm front and extremely dangerous conditions are being reported area-wide, including:

  1. Anchor Point – 8” to 10” of snow with 30mph winds, snow drifts and poor visibility.
  2. Seward – Over 1’ of snow, 40mph winds, extreme blizzard conditions
  3. Homer – 60mph gusts, 6’ to 7’ drifts, extreme driving conditions, schools and offices closed.
  4. Kodiak – 38 degree F winds, rain on ice, Airport currently closed

“DOT&PF road crews and equipment have been fully deployed since the onset of the storm and will remain on the job as we work to bring road conditions back to the safe and acceptable condition the public expects,” said DOT&PF Commissioner Marc Luiken.

ADOT&PF advises folks in these areas to avoid driving if at all possible, but if you have to drive, expect extremely difficult wintertime driving conditions, and to drive cautiously and at reduced speeds.  In addition, drivers can expect to encounter road crews and plow trucks, and should exercise caution.

Updates on road conditions can be found at the website or by dialing 511 on your telephone.  Further new releases will follow this as additional information is available.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) oversees 254 airports, 11 ferries serving 33 communities, 5,700 miles of highway and 660 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of ADOT&PF is to “Get Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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For more information, contact Rick Feller, DOT&PF public information officer, @ (907) 269-0772,, or (907) 632-9198 (cell).