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Sen. Click Bishop Hopeful DOT&PF Can Clear Richardson Hwy. Avalanches in Timely, Safe Manner

JUNEAU – Sen. Click Bishop, R-Fairbanks, today released the following statement regarding the avalanches that closed the Richardson Highway over the weekend. The Richardson was inundated by numerous snow slides and avalanches between MP 12, just outside Valdez, and MP 42, near Thompson Pass. The most significant and unstable of the avalanches, estimated to be about 60-70’ deep, has plugged Keystone Canyon and dammed the Lowe River.

“As the state senator representing Valdez and other Richardson Highway communities, it is my most fervent hope that DOT&PF will be able to safely reopen the highway in a timely manner,” Sen. Bishop said. “I am also hopeful that as the dammed-up water is drained and the highway and bridges that share the Keystone Canyon with the Lowe River will not be significantly damaged. The Richardson Highway is a crucial arterial serving the people of Alaska, from Valdez north to Fairbanks – we cannot afford to be without it.”

The Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has said they will not begin removing debris from the large slides until conditions have stabilized to a point that allows the work to be done safely. The department has also added sailings to the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry M/V Aurora between Valdez and Whittier, to accommodate travelers who need to get to Anchorage.

“I appreciate the quick response by the ferry system to fill in while the road is closed,” Senator Bishop said.

For more information, or to speak with Sen. Bishop, please contact his Juneau office at 465-2327.

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