Valdez's main highway reopens after blocked by avalanches for 12 days

Feb. 6, 2014 at 8:10 AM
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VALDEZ, Alaska, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The main highway through Valdez, Alaska, has been reopened following a series of avalanches blocked it for 12 days, the state Transportation Department said.

Officials said no damage was found on Richardson Highway when it reopened Wednesday morning, several hours earlier than expected, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

No one was injured in the series of avalanches that began Jan. 24 and prompted transportation officials to close a 52-mile stretch of highway.

On Jan. 25, the Transportation Department triggered another slide that clogged the roadway more by damming the Lowe River and creating a lake that halted snow removal, the Daily News said.

Residents called the blockage "Damalanche."

Once waters receded Friday, crews worked to clear the nearly 54 tons of snow, transportation spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said.

"Generally speaking I think we live in this part of the world for a reason and we tend to take these things in stride," Valdez City Manager John Hozey told the Daily News.

Hozey said city officials kept residents informed through twice-daily statements on the avalanche-clearing progress, grocery store shipments and mail deliveries.

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