Big slide closes Hatcher Pass Road

Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2001

PALMER (AP) -- The Hatcher Pass Road will be closed for at least a week after road crews triggered a massive slide that buried a 500-foot stretch of road under a pile of rocks, trees and other debris up to 30 feet deep.

No one was hurt in the slide that came down Monday night on a section of road just past the Little Susitna River Bridge near Palmer after crews did some blasting work.

The work is part of a $3 million project to widen and pave six miles of the road from the bridge to the Motherlode Lodge.

The spot where the slide occurred is in a canyon and has been crumbling for years, said Tom Trammell, project engineer for the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities.

The hillside is part of an old glacial moraine, and is a mix of hard and soft rock, he said.

Trammell estimated the slide contained up to 30,000 cubic yards of debris, or the equivalent of more than 2,000 dump truck loads.

Clearing the mess could take up to eight days, he said. But the agency first is asking the state for more right-of-way so it can push the canyon wall farther back. Trammell called it a safety issue.

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