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Crews continue removing snow along Turnagain Pass

AK Department of Transportation Department clear snow along the Seward Highway in Tunragain Pass.
AK Department of Transportation Department clear snow along the Seward Highway in Tunragain Pass.
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 6:06 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Members of the Alaska Avalanche School are in training learning in the back country of Turnagain Pass.

“I think it’s amazing,” said Raquelle Melchert, one of the students. “I think it’s giving us a taste of what it was like in the old days.”

They head out in this winter wonderland that had been a challenge earlier this week.

“There was nowhere to park. This wasn’t plowed yet. We were all, like, on the side of the road,” Melchert said.

There’s now a clear path to parking lots and turnoffs, as the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities removed the snow that covered them. There’s still a lot of snow still to be removed

“This latest storm that just moved through dumped anywhere between 10′-15” depending on where you’re at of heavy, wet snow,” said DOT Spokesperson Shannon McCarthy.

Crews have been brought in from Anchorage to help while the department prepares to reopen the Silvertip Maintenance Station. The governor ordered it back in December after its closure in September 2019.

Turnagain Pass is not the only place dealing with weather issues.

Potholes make for a bumpy ride on the 20 Mile Bridge due to all the melted snow that has damaged the asphalt

“Those bridges are really old, they’re from the 50s,” McCarthy said. “They’re some of the oldest bridges we have in the inventory for all of Alaska. We’re anxious to get those replaced.”

Road crews apply temporary repairs to all the bridges along between Mile Post 75-90 of the Seward Highway. Construction starts in the summer on a two to three year project to improve the road.

Expect delays passing through the Portage area.

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