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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2014
No.: 14-2504
Contact: Jeremy Woodrow, 907-465-8994, Jeremy.Woodrow@alaska.gov
Hannah Blankenship, 907-451-5307, Hannah.Blankenship@alaska.gov

Richardson Highway Closure Press Teleconference Availability

(VALDEZ, Alaska) – The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) will host a press teleconference Monday, Jan. 27 from noon to 1 p.m.

Please use the following number and access code to participate in today’s teleconference:

  • Dial: (267) 507-0008
  • Access Code: 786-679-197

To alleviate the number of questions over the phone, please email questions prior to the teleconference to Jeremy.Woodrow@alaska.gov. Time will be made for additional questions immediately following the initial remarks from ADOT&PF.

Highway Closure Update:
The Richardson Highway remains closed from milepost 12-42 until further notice. ADOT&PF maintenance crews successfully brought down additional slides over the weekend and have stabilized some sections of the highway. Crews have begun removing debris from the milepost 39.5 slide. Other sections of the highway still remain far too unstable and unsafe to access. A large slide in Keystone Canyon that crossed the Lowe River has formed a dam which caused flooding in valley upstream. Some water is receding through an old railway tunnel but not enough to allow crews to begin removing the slide debris.

ADOT&PF is working on rerouting ferry service to Valdez. An additional two direct Whittier to Valdez sailings will be added, for a total of three direct Whittier to Valdez sailings this week. An updated schedule will be available at FerryAlaska.com later today.

On Friday, Jan. 24, at approximately 6:30 a.m., multiple avalanches crossed the Richardson Highway in the Thompson Pass region. ADOT&PF closed the highway from milepost 12-64 through the weekend. The avalanches occurred naturally after the department made several attempts to mitigate avalanche risk up to 10 days prior to the closure. The department continues to assess the stability of the snowpack and will begin clearing debris from the highway once it is determined that it is safe for crews to access the area.

For road conditions updates, please visit 511.alaska.gov, dial 5-1-1, or check for 511 updates on Facebook and Twitter. ADOT&PF reminds drivers to exercise extreme caution if traveling through mountain passes in this region as there is an increased possibility for more avalanches to occur and to be aware of flaggers and heavy equipment in the roadway.

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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