• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 40s

Icy conditions freeze traffic on Valley roads

By KTVA Alaska 8:39 PM November 22, 2013

Flipped school bus sends four students to hospital; more than 65 cars, six more buses stranded on frozen roads

WASILLA – Alaska’s no stranger to cold, wet weather, but the black ice and freezing rain along the Knik Goose Bay Road (KGB) had some Wasilla residents calling Friday’s weather some of the worst they’ve ever seen.

“We’re used to the snow, and we’re used to the icy roads, but this is just a straight up ice skating rink,” said State Trooper Ryan Anderson.

Troopers dealt with more than 65 vehicles in distress across the Valley throughout Friday morning, with accidents shutting down portions of the Parks Highway. Collisions and ditch-stranded vehicles closed off portions of the KGB Road. At one time, more than 20 vehicles were stranded due to ice rink conditions on Vine Road.

“From my experience, this is kind of the worst I’ve ever seen,” Anderson said, diverting traffic along KGB road due to the closure of Vine.

The rain started falling — and freezing — just before 8 a.m., after schools had already given the go-ahead for buses to run.

“When they called school it was still clear out and not raining,” Anderson said. “The school buses started up as normal, and then [when] it did start to rain, the ice started to accumulate, and since then it’s just been … cars sliding off the road into ditches.”

Two buses had minor traffic accidents. A Palmer/Wasilla school district spokesperson said they were from other vehicles sliding into the buses. Six more buses were stranded by the icy roads; eventually students on those stranded buses were brought to nearby schools.

One wasn’t so lucky. On it’s way to Snowshoe Elementary, a bus carrying 14 students on Edlund Road, near Fariview Loop, slid off the road and flipped. A school spokesperson said medics responded to the scene and cleared all aboard to continue on to school. Later, four students and the bus driver were taken to Mat-Su Regional Hospital for minor injuries.

Despite the slick roads, it didn’t keep many from their regular routines.

“It was not like a normal day,” said Kaylee Price, a barista at the Iditacup coffee stand. She arrived at work before the rain started, and watched things go from bad to worse.

“I got her at five [a.m.], and when I got here it was fine,” she said. “I don’t know what time it was, but once it started raining you just saw everybody sliding and going in the ditch, not making it up the hill.”

State and borough road crews were out throughout the day, chipping away at the ice and sanding the roads. By late afternoon those efforts had opened up even the slickest parts of KGB Road, including the previously closed Vine.

Even with improving conditions, and most of KGB Road opened by this afternoon, Anderson said conditions remained extremely slick.

”Only go out if you have to, and if you do go out, give yourself plenty of extra time,” he cautioned. “Drive slowly and give yourself plenty of extra space around you, and just have patience, because everywhere you go, its just going to be traffic problems.”

Colder weather on the way could mean a quick freeze in the Valley, leaving Wasilla residents to contend with another ice rink on Saturday.

Latest Stories

  • News

    After years with SeaLife Center, beloved Steller sea lion dies

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 05, 17:25

    A 21-year-old Steller sea lion that was a favorite among staff and visitors has died following complications with bone degeneration, the Alaska SeaLife Center announced. Sugar was humanely euthanized Wednesday, the Seward facility said in a press release. Because of her age, veterinarians had been monitoring her health. She had not previously displayed signs of […]

  • Sports

    Benjamin Harper

    by John Thain on Mar 05, 16:09

    Ben Harper felt right at home at the Knik 200 Sled Dog Race. After all, it runs many of the same trails as the Jr Iditarod — a race he’s finished three times. But after his 18th birthday last June, Harper was a junior musher no more. The next step was the Iditarod. “I’ve never […]

  • Lifestyle

    Full moon rising over Anchorage, Chugach Mountains

    by KTVA Web Staff on Mar 05, 15:59

    Cold, clear weather conditions made it possible to capture this time lapse video of February’s full moon rising over Anchorage from behind the Chugach Mountains. Photos taken on February 2, 2015 by Rick Boots. Have photos or video you’d like to submit to KTVA? Click the “News Tip” button at the top of the website […]

  • News

    Troopers investigate reported child death in Shungnak

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 05, 15:07

    Alaska State Troopers are responding to the village of Shungnak to confirm the death of a child. Wednesday around 10 p.m., the Shungnak Village Public Safety Officer notified Alaska State Troopers in Kotzebue “of an incident involving a child,” according to an online dispatch posted Thursday afternoon. A medevac was dispatched to transport the child to Anchorage […]

  • Politics

    Rep. Don Young lashes out at members urging wolf protections

    by Associated Press on Mar 05, 14:45

    U.S. Rep. Don Young lashed out at congressional members who urged continued protections for the gray wolf in parts of the Lower 48, saying none is from a district affected by wolves. He said during a hearing in Washington, D.C., that he would like to introduce wolves in their districts: “I’d introduce ‘em in your […]

  • Sports

    Musher races Iditarod to help train sled dogs, not win

    by Daybreak Staff on Mar 05, 10:54

    Bryan Bearss says he’s racing the Iditarod to help train Karin Hendrickson‘s dogs and see a new part of Alaska, not necessarily to win the Last Great Race. “I’m not going to win … it’s going to be a training run,” Bearss said. “My whole race plan for them and the one that Karin helped […]

  • News

    Village officer will not be charged in stun gun case

    by Associated Press on Mar 05, 10:27

    Prosecutors will not file charges against a former Kake village public safety officer who used a stun gun on two boys who wanted to know how it felt to be shocked by the device. The Juneau Empire newspaper (http://is.gd/ufOWkA) reports Charles “Mac” McGonigal is no longer employed as a VPSO in the southeast Alaska community. […]

  • Sports

    Where to watch the Iditarod start and restart

    by Daybreak Staff on Mar 05, 9:33

    If your family has plans to head to Anchorage or Fairbanks for the Iditarod, Daybreak family fun expert Erin Kirkland has some advice. The ceremonial start is this Saturday at 10 a.m. in Downtown Anchorage. You can expect large crowds and “organized chaos” along Fourth Avenue. Kirkland said your best bet is to arrive early. “So, […]