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US

Crews free avalanche-hit highway -- for now

February 6, 2000
Web posted at: 2:26 a.m. EST (0726 GMT)

From staff and wire reports

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) -- The Seward Highway was open Sunday for its entire length between Anchorage and Seward after crews cleared avalanche debris, officials said.

The Sterling Highway on the Kenai Peninsula was also opened after an avalanche-related closure near Cooper Landing.

On Saturday heavy equipment cleared snowslides off the last two Seward Highway blockages.

Officials advised drivers to proceed cautiously, as work near the road continues. And a state transportation official warned that more bad weather could bring more trouble.

  MESSAGE BOARD
Nature's wrath

 

"If it starts snowing ... it could start all over again," Murph O'Brien, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said.

Many who had been stuck in Girdwood since Monday -- when the avalanches first hit -- wasted little time hitting the road when the highway was briefly opened Friday. Though some were a bit more cautious.

"We're not so sure we want to risk it," Tasha Stinson of Girdwood said of the 40-mile drive to Anchorage. "We don't want to be buried."

Gov. Tony Knowles declared a disaster emergency for south- central Alaska after the avalanches hit.

Knowles did not cite an overall damage amount in his disaster declaration, but specifically mentioned areas such as the Prince William Sound city of Cordova, where an avalanche last week caused $2.6 million in damage.



RELATED STORIES:
Avalanche sweeps bus, truck into sea in Norway; at least 2 dead
January 19, 2000

RELATED SITES:
State of Alaska Online
Alaska Department of Public Safety
The Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska
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