Seward Highway Reopened After Rock Slide

A rockslide closed the Seward Highway in both directions for about two hours Thursday morning.

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The slide pushed debris and at least one huge boulder onto the highway just before seven o’clock this morning.

State Department of Transportation spokesperson Shannon McCarthy says an SUV hit the boulder, which alerted officials to the incident. McCarthy says local weather conditions could have triggered the slide.

“Anything that causes a freeze – thaw cycle can loosen material,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy says slides are not unusual in the area, just south of Anchorage.

“This area, from Potter weigh station down to Indian, we do monitor throughout the year, but particularly in springtime, and other times, such as like after a seismic event or after high winds, for any material that may have become loose and may have fallen on to the roadway,” McCarthy said.

Highway crews cleared the rocks away, and the highway opened up by nine a.m. According to Anchorage Police Department there were no injuries reported in the incident.


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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori