News Alert: KTVA is On-Air - Watch Now - Read More
  • 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

    Native art fair draws crowds to Dena’ina Center

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 23, 22:27

    The Alaska Federation of Natives convention brings Alaska Native leaders from around the state, but it also brings crafters and artisans. For many people, the Alaska Native Customary Art Fair is one of their favorite parts of the AFN convention. This year, the selection is better than ever. Hundreds of booths line the first floor […]

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, Oct. 23

    by Carlos Faura on Oct 23, 22:22

    Kenai Peninsula – There will be isolated rain and snow on the Kenai with scattered showers from Anchorage north. Southeast - Expect rain to the south and a shower or two for the northern areas, with snow at pass levels. Interior & North Slope – It will be mostly dry with a flurry or two, […]

  • News

    Totem pole artist carves out a piece of history

    by Heather Hintze on Oct 23, 21:28

    A totem pole isn’t just a work of art for Tommy Joseph; it’s carving out a little piece of history. “That’s what a totem pole is all about is I’m telling someone’s story,” he said. “Everyone has a story.” On a warm morning in Sitka, he methodically chips away at a 10-foot cedar pole. He […]

  • Politics

    Show Me the Money: Marijuana Legalization

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 21:00

      Show Me the Money: Alaska’s Fiscal Future Four issues that could change the fortunes of Alaska… Four issues that have divided us… Four issues that will unite us as we go to the polls Nov. 4th… How can you prosper in the ever-changing landscape of living life in the 49th state?   Oct. 9 @ 9 […]

  • News

    Investigators focus on pilot error in deadly 2013 plane crash

    by Dave Leval on Oct 23, 20:22

    It’s been more than a year since two people died in a plane crash at Merrill Field. Rob Lilly and his girlfriend, Jessi Nelsen, died when they tried to land after taking off from Wasilla Aug. 24, 2013. The second phase of a federal investigation into the crash found no mechanical errors with the plane. […]

  • News

    Feds to bring indoor plumbing to Alaska village

    by Associated Press on Oct 23, 15:49

    A remote Alaska village where only half the homes have indoor plumbing is among rural communities nationwide to receive a share of more than $352 million in grants and loans for upgrades to rural water and wastewater systems. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Alaska’s $12.6 million share of the funding from the U.S. Department of […]

  • News

    Governor signs bill to recognize Native languages

    by Lauren Maxwell on Oct 23, 15:39

    The number of official languages in the State of Alaska has gone from one to 21 with a single stroke of a pen. Gov. Sean Parnell signed HB216 in front of a cheering crowd at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention Thursday morning. The bill recognizes 20 Native languages, and adds them to English as […]

  • Crime

    Police: Pit bull death ‘extreme’ animal cruelty

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Oct 23, 15:17

    Police are asking for help investigating the death of a dog found hanging from a tree near the University of Alaska Anchorage earlier this month. A man walking in the woods near East 20th Avenue and Rosemary Street made the gruesome discovery Oct. 10, according to a Thursday afternoon statement from the Anchorage Police Department. […]