Drainage slows on highway lake formed by avalanche

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska highway officials say 24 miles of the only road into Valdez (val-DEEZ') have been cleared of snow from avalanches, but road access between the city and the rest of the state remains blocked.

Department of Transportation spokeswoman Hannah Blankenship says the Richardson Highway is now open between Miles 18 and 42.

One of two major avalanches Friday had blocked the road at Mile 39. Crews Thursday blasted mountainsides with explosives to trigger loose snow in avalanche zones and used heavy equipment to clear the highway to Mile 18.

But the road remains closed between Miles 12 and 18, where a major avalanche dammed the Lowe River and created a lake.

Deep water continues to cover about 1,500 feet of highway, preventing heavy equipment from reaching the avalanche.

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