A storm that brought significant snowfall, icy roads and high winds to the peninsula on Thursday and Friday created perilous road conditions that snarled traffic and sent a handful of people to the hospital.
“Yesterday’s weather had a significant impact on driving conditions that resulted in a higher than normal call volume for traffic accidents and vehicles in ditches,” Kenai Police Lt. Ben Langham said Friday.
The Kenai Police Department received 11 reports of vehicles in ditches and responded to three traffic accidents from Thursday into Friday morning, Langham said.
The two most serious accidents happened within a couple hundred yards of a curve on Mile 5 of Kenai Spur Highway near Beaver Creek.
On Friday morning, a driver lost control of a vehicle and spun into an oncoming lane along the section of highway, clipping another car. There were no injuries, but the accident shut down one lane of the highway for about two hours, Langham said.
An accident at the same location at around 5:15 p.m. sent three people to Central Peninsula Hospital on Thursday night with minor injuries.
Police officers also received a report of a car on fire along Mile 14 of the Kenai Spur Highway. When police responded the fire was out and the vehicle and driver were both on the side of the road.
Bud Sexton, public information officer for Nikiski Fire Department, said the Nikiski station saw an uptick in emergency calls during the day Thursday, including a two-car head-on collision. The vehicles’ two occupants were transported to Central Peninsula Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, Sexton said. The station also responded to a trailer fire, as well as two vehicles in ditches.
Soldotna drivers fared relatively well, despite the harsh weather conditions, Central Emergency Services Deputy Chief Dan Grimes said. Crews were called out for two incidents of single vehicles off the road — one along mile 101.5 of the Sterling Highway and a second on the half-mile mark of Kalifornsky Beach Road.
“I would say, put a feather in the cap of the local drivers of our area,” Grimes said.
Megan Peters, public information officer for Alaska State Troopers, said trooper dispatchers expected to be inundated with calls during the storm, but received few reports of weather-related accidents.