DOT emergency project addresses high rockfall activity along the Seward Highway

Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 2:59 PM AKDT
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Increased rockfall along the Seward Highway is prompting an emergency project by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Crews began installing rockfall mitigation hardware near milepost 110 Monday. The DOT uses large bolts ranging from 10 to 15 feet deep to secure large rocks in place.

"There's not any time where mother nature is going to be 100 percent controlled, so people also need to be self aware and drive for conditions," said DOT spokesperson, Jill Reese.

It's part of a two part emergency project aimed at addressing two spots where state geologists determined the rockfall is active enough to merit a response before breakup season.

"I think also the weather changes that we've had where we have more freeze thaws during the wintertime," said Reese. "The earthquake certainly was the cause to get this project going as quickly as it did."

The $618,250 federally funded project is a precursor to a larger project addressing several miles of rockfall between Anchorage and Girdwood. That project is expected to happen over the summer.

"It's just a constant challenge until we can get to the point to where we can have the millions and millions of dollars that it's going to take to move the highway from the rockface," said Reese.

Crews will be out working daily until the end of March from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph in the work area. The DOT says drivers can expect up to 20 minute waits.

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