Hiland Road reopens after massive avalanche near Eagle River

Two people walk over a snow berm with a giant pile of snow in the middle
Residents walk down a makeshift path to access their homes near the Hiland Road avalanche last week. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Hiland Road in Eagle River reopened on Monday after a massive avalanche crossed the road on March 24.

Truckers hauled out more than 30,000 cubic yards of snow from the area, according to an online post from Anchorage’s Office of Emergency Management. That’s the volume of about nine Olympic-sized swimming pools. 

The reopening of Hiland Road allowed residents to leave the area by car for the first time in 11 days. The slide had blocked access to town for residents of about 100 homes.

City officials estimate the avalanche was over 400 feet wide and 80 feet deep. The city declared a disaster and the assembly released $1.5 million for the response. A portion of that — about $1 million, according to the Anchorage Daily News — went to pay for the snow removal, while the rest went to pay city workers for overtime. 

During last week, when the road was still blocked, workers from the Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department operated a 24-hour snowmachine shuttle to help residents get to town. 

Snow removal is ongoing, according to the city. It’s asking for only local traffic in the area until the snow is cleared. 

RELATED: Cut off by avalanche, Hiland Road residents lean on snowmachine shuttle and each other

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Lex Treinen covers culture, homelessness, politics and corrections for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at ltreinen@alaskapublic.org.

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