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Richardson Highway closed following avalanche and extreme snow

 This image, taken from a DOT weather camera near Valdez, shows the avalanche that is shutting down a section of the Richardson Highway.
This image, taken from a DOT weather camera near Valdez, shows the avalanche that is shutting down a section of the Richardson Highway. (KTUU)
Published: Dec. 6, 2017 at 9:53 AM AKST
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Crews are working to clear snow off of the Richardson Highway near Valdez, after excessive snow has not relented, and an avalanche has poured over the isolated highway stretch.

The road closure is contained between milepost 12 and milepost 42, after the avalanche shifted massive snow onto milepost 30. Meadow Bailey, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Transportation, said that their crews haven't even been able to enter the zones within the road closure due to safety issues posed by the avalanche.

"It's not safe to have crews enter the avalanche zone, not until the conditions improve. We're looking for snow to stop, for visibility to increase, and hopefully daylight will help. But it may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow," Bailey said.

The avalanche, which cascaded over the road at 3:30 Tuesday morning, isn't the only problem. In neighboring Thompson Pass, the National Weather Service says the area saw over 6 feet of snow in just 3 days.

According to Bailey, one report from Valdez this morning said they saw 15 inches of snow in 90 minutes, causing poor road conditions in a short amount of time. Another 4 feet are expected for the region through today.

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