Cars wait on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021 while debris is cleared on a section of the Sterling Highway that was blocked by a landslide that took place on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Cars wait on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021 while debris is cleared on a section of the Sterling Highway that was blocked by a landslide that took place on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, near Cooper Landing, Alaska. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Both lanes open after landslide blocks Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing

The slide was about 250-feet wide and 6- to 8-feet thick with mud and debris.

Both lanes of the Sterling Highway in Cooper Landing reopened to through traffic Wednesday following a large landslide on Sunday that covered the highway and caused extensive traffic delays.

In addition to covering the surface of the highway, the landslide — which took place on a section of road between Mileposts 49 and 51, roughly between the Cooper Landing Museum Complex and the Cooper Creek Campground — ripped out about 185 feet of guardrail, Shannon McCarthy, a media liaison with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said Wednesday.

McCarthy said the slide was about 250-feet wide and 6- to 8-feet thick with mud and debris, not including trees. Initial estimates put the slide at about 100-feet wide and about 3-feet deep.

The total scope of work, McCarthy said, included the removal of mud and debris, replacement of the guardrail, clearing ditches and reclearing the highway. Though the slide occurred on Sunday, McCarthy said on Monday afternoon that the slide area was still moving due to ongoing rain, which she also cited as the cause of the initial slide.

The department has issued new updates about the status of traffic movement through the area throughout the week. Only one lane of the highway was open on Tuesday, with crews allowing through traffic every other hour for 30 minutes in one direction and 30 minutes in the other direction.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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