Last updated at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 8


Alaska State Troopers and the Anchorage Police Department announced a planned closure of the Seward Highway at Beluga Point Friday evening for an “event.”


The closure was originally scheduled from 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., according to a joint statement. Soldotna troopers later said the closure did not begin until roughly 7:30 p.m.


Neither agency provided further details about the event itself.


In a phone interview, AST spokesman Tim DeSpain said the closure was unrelated to the recent incident in the same location: an armed man, identified as 36-year-old Kevin Thibodeau, allegedly fired shots at a person and disappeared during a search for him at Beluga Point. The incident closed the highway for roughly 12 hours Wednesday night into Thursday morning.


At a press conference Saturday morning, Gov. Bill Walker confirmed that the closure was related to a short trip he and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping took to Beluga Point after the president’s arrival Friday evening. They were joined by their wives and delegates from Alaska and China, including Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott.