Glenn Highway reopens after wrecks near Birchwood
Blowing snow and icy roads on the Glenn Highway caused police to close the highway's outbound lanes for about two hours Saturday afternoon.
An APD dispatch supervisor said all lanes of the Glenn, which closed shortly after 2:30 p.m., had been reopened by 5 p.m. Officers are urging people to drive carefully, however.
"Periodic outbound lane closures will continue as crews continue to clean up the area," police said in a statement.
APD spokesman MJ Thim said the Glenn will likely be backed up for a few hours, as mushers and fans travel north from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race's ceremonial start in Anchorage to its formal start Sunday in Willow.
"We have a lot of traffic headed outbound as the Iditarod preps for tomorrow are under way in Willow," Thim said. "If you don't need to be on that area of the highway, please avoid it until conditions improve."
An Anchorage police statement at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday warned of “multiple vehicle accidents and vehicles in distress,” focused between the North and South Birchwood exits and affecting traffic in both directions. KTVA's Facebook page carried a live stream of the area Saturday afternoon.
Thim said the Glenn had become "very problematic" Saturday afternoon, with dispatchers reporting at least 15 to 20 crashes on the highway amid worsening road conditions across the municipality.
A KTVA employee headed north on the highway at about 2:30 p.m. reported seeing a number of crashed vehicles near South Birchwood, including a kennel truck, with other vehicles wrecked at the Peters Creek exit southbound.
Anchorage snowfall ramped up from light snow in the morning to heavier snowfall over the Glenn Highway, north of town, than in the Anchorage Bowl. The forecast calls for snow to taper off in the early evening, giving way overnight to clearing skies and areas of freezing fog with a low temperature in the teens.
Thim urged people to employ safe driving practices Saturday, including using headlights, driving slowly and allowing more space between vehicles and more time to reach destinations.
Zach Rover and Scott Gross contributed information to this story.
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