Avalanche closes road to Hatcher Pass
Willow-Fishhook Road is closed near milepost 11 after an avalanche crossed the road Monday morning.
According to the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center (HPAC), the slide crossed the road at 8:30 a.m.
Jed Workman, HPAC Director and Avalanche Specialist, said the runoff from the avalanche is covering the entire width of the road.
Alaska Department of Transportation closed the road until further notice. According to Shannon McCarthy, DOT Public Information Officer, the snow covering the road is about 12 feet wide and 15 inches deep.
McCarthy says plow crews are on standby to clear the slide but are prevented from going in until it is considered safe to do so.
DOT anticipates the road to be closed for at least 24 hours.
According to DOT there are about 10 people stranded by the road closure. Hap Wurlitzer has been operating Hatcher Pass Lodge for more than 50 years. He says they have seven people staying at the lodge. Wurlitzer says they're prepared with plenty of food and oil to stick it out until its safe for the plow crews to clear the road. He anticipates it'll be a few days.
HPAC says 11 inches of new snow fell overnight and it continues to snow about 2 inches per hour. They are expecting more snow and wind throughout the day.
Travel in avalanche terrain is not recommend.
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