DOT: Stay off Glenn and Seward Hwys if you can as challenging paving work begins

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The Alaska Department of Transportation gave an update on road conditions Sunday afternoon focusing on damage done to the Glenn Highway and Seward Highway.

The message from officials is that if possible, people should work from home, especially if they are travelling from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough into Anchorage due to damage near Mirror Lake and Eagle River.

Most state officials in the Southcentral area have been given the day off work Monday.

Winter weather conditions are creating a challenge for recovery efforts and DOT officials say "this is probably the most challenging paving we've ever done."

[RELATED: Rain, snow and an already slow commute]

Commissioner Marc Luiken of the Department of Transportation said that $5 million had been released from the feds to help with recovery and repairs.

Glenn Highway
State and city officials have spoken about how the Glenn Highway remains the most challenging aspect of infrastructure to get back online.

Officials say that it will be impossible for the highway to take a normal load of commuters traveling in and out of Anchorage.

Mirror Lake: The area of highway around Mirror Lake has been reduced to one lane traveling in either direction. DOT officials showed pictures of recovery efforts, and barring no unforeseen circumstances, officials say the highway inbound near Mirror Lake could reopen by Wednesday. Commissioner Mark Luiken did not want people to have any expectations about when the highway would open at Mirror Lake.

Eagle River Bridge: The Municipality of Anchorage says traffic over the bridges is expected to be open in all lanes by Monday morning. One lane on each side had been closed earlier.

Northbound Briggs Bridge: The bridge on Eagle River Loop Road is closed. Officials recommend using Artillery or North Eagle River ramp entrances.

The Palmer exit at the Glenn Highway and Parks Highway Interchange: The interchange has been reopened to one lane of traffic but DOT crews want people not travel on the interchange unless absolutely necessary. Palmer and farther north communities can still be accessed via Trunk Road and the Palmer-Wasilla Highway to the Glenn Highway.

Seward Highway
State officials are reporting the danger of rockslides on the Seward Highway due to aftershocks. The risk of rockslides are being exacerbated by rain, wind and snow, said Dave Kemp, Central Region Director with the Department of Transportation.

Rockslides are being reported in particular between milepost 104 and milepost 114. Like the Glenn Highway, officials recommend that people should only drive on the Seward Highway if absolutely necessary and stay at home if possible.

Challenges with paving
Contractors working for the Department of Transportation explained on Sunday that some of the challenges with the recovery efforts come down to timing.

Companies have winterized equipment and key personnel are out of state.

Tim Schwanke from Pruhs construction said it is also challenging to get the asphalt ready for paving. Schwanke said crews have been heating up the asphalt since Friday-- it was frozen solid.

The asphalt should be ready for paving around 4:00 p.m. Sunday.

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