Sitka road crews clear Labor Day landslide
A Monday landslide that temporarily cut off the Southeast Alaska town of Sitka from its state ferry terminal has been removed from a local road, with no injuries reported.
Aurah Landau, a spokeswoman with the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, said the landslide took place north of town near the 4300 block of Halibut Point Road. Sitka Volunteer Fire Department crews arrived at the slide by 12:30 p.m., and DOTPF crews called to the scene soon afterward began clearing the road at about 3 p.m.
Power was temporarily shut down in the area to protect electric lines, Landau said. After a delay due to continuing rainfall, the road was cleared at about 10 p.m. Monday.
Photos from the slide area showed trees leaning against nearby wires. A home and a boat were near the top of the slide, but apparently did not fall.
Dave Miller, the fire department’s chief, said ferries had brought many Juneau residents and their vehicles to Sitka over the holiday weekend for the Mudball Classic Softball Tournament. About 90 Juneauites who wanted to return home were bused to a dock in town, where a boat provided by Allen Marine Tours took them to a cruise-ship dock at the end of Halibut Point Road beyond the slide.
From there, a second bus took them to the ferry terminal for their return leg to Juneau.
“It was a short trip, but it had a lot of comings and goings,” Miller said. “A lot of cars are still here from Juneau.”
DOTPF was still clearing debris from road ditches near the slide, according to Landau, and a geologist will be assessing the safety of slopes above the coastal road Tuesday. An extra state ferry round-trip sailing from Juneau to Sitka was scheduled Tuesday to help return people following the slide.
Jennifer Summers contributed information to this story.