Landslide in Petersburg knocks out power

A landslide in Petersburg knocked out power to area residents on Monday night.
Published: Oct. 31, 2022 at 8:02 PM AKDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2022 at 9:18 AM AKDT
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PETERSBURG, Alaska (KTUU) - A landslide in Petersburg buried a road and knocked out power for hundreds of residents on Monday night.

According to a Facebook post from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, a large landslide covered the road around mile 6 of the Mitkof Highway around 5:20 p.m. Monday.

The department said in an updated post that the road reopened around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Petersburg Borough Manager Stephen Giesbrecht told Alaska’s News Source that the “whole community was lacking power” after the landslide but the Petersburg Municipal Power and Lights had activated backup generators to restore power to the majority of the town within about two hours.

Landslide knocks out power in Petersburg
Landslide knocks out power in Petersburg(Officer Jared Popp/Petersburg Police Department)

“The landslide covered the Mitkof Highway and actually split between two houses in a vacant lot, so no properties were damaged,” Giesbrecht said. “... (It will be) a lot of cleanup today just to get it back in better shape. So we still on the transportation side of it looks pretty good.”

Giesbrecht said about 80 to 100 households are still lacking power and an Anchorage contractor is expected to arrive Tuesday to assess the damage and help restore power to those still affected.

#petersburgalaska11/1 8:30 a.m. UPDATE: Road was reopened at 1:30 a.m. this morning, Nov. 1. DOT&PF Maintenance and our...

Posted by Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities on Monday, October 31, 2022

DOT maintenance teams were initially not able to start removal work until the area was deemed stable, according to department officials.

Giesbrecht said it is believed that heavy rains in the area were the cause of the slide.

“It’s an area that we really don’t want to have slides because it’s close to the road,” he said. “And then we may not be so lucky next time, where it missed houses this time, so I think a lot of folks are going to take a look at that. It’s not an area that’s had slides before, so (there’s) a lot we don’t know, at that point.”

According to a post on Facebook, one pole owned by Southeast Alaska Power Agency is destroyed and another is damaged.

PMPL, ADOT and Public Works are all working to address the land slide and power outage. At this time, it is apparent...

Posted by Petersburg Borough, Alaska on Monday, October 31, 2022

Giesbrecht said crews worked late into Monday night trying to clear debris from the area and said a “great deal of progress was made.”

This is a developing story, check back for updates.