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Water recedes behind Valdez avalanche

Posted: January 30, 2014 - 9:57pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska highway officials say water continues to recede from behind an avalanche that blocked road access to Valdez.

The avalanche Jan. 24 dammed the Lowe River at Keystone Canyon and created a lake 2,500 feet long.

Northern region maintenance engineer Jason Sakalaskas (sak-ah-LAS’-kas) says water has mostly returned to the river.

The road remains blocked by snow stretching from wall to wall in the canyon 12 miles from Valdez.

The snow is 40 to 50 feet deep and up to 1,500 feet long.

A helicopter dropped explosives Thursday to bring down loose snow.

Crews are working to clear ice left by the dammed water.

Sakalaskas says a next step will be verifying that there’s no other impounded water so crews can remove snow safely from both sides of the avalanche.

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