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Thread: Whittier Tunnel updates

  1. #1
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Default Whittier Tunnel updates

    Since there is a lot of hearsay going around thought I’d try and get valid information from the source. This is a response to an email sent about 30 minutes ago to Chief Communications Officer Roger Wetherell DOT, its not encouraging.

    My email:

    Is the DOT going to open the Whittier tunnel to vehicle traffic this
    weekend? Rumor has it there will be limited hours in the morning and
    evening, but than some residents in Whittier think DOT will not have a
    single lane open for the weekend.
    There are a lot of us chomping at the bit, please throw us a bone.

    Thanks,

    Response:

    I wish I could throw you a bone with some meat on it. However, a large rock slab at the top of the slide area, originally thought to be stable, has shown significant movement since originally investigated last Monday and Tuesday. This slab movement and the potential for it falling has prompted DOT&PF and its contractor to halt all work at the site until the rock face above the work zone can be stabilized - for the safety of workers. We are expecting recommendations from our geologists by noon today for stabilization of the slope.

    The anticipated partial opening of the Whittier Tunnel for tomorrow morning has been postponed until further notice.

    Roger Wetherell roger.wetherell@alaska.gov
    Chief Communications Officer (907) 465-8994
    Office of the Commissioner
    Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
    State of Alaska

    Reply:

    Thanks for the reply Mr.Wetherell.

    I’d appreciate it if you’d share the outcome of your geologist’s recommendations when known.

    I will post all responses from Mr. Wetherll and any correspondence I receive from other valid sources.
    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
    OurPlayground.


  2. #2
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    Default flat car

    I vote the railroad put on some flat bed cars and we take our boats thru the tunnel like the good old days! Time is a-wasting!

  3. #3

    Default Thanks Jay

    Appreciate the update. At least we know they aren't just dragging their feet. This is a serious situation for them to be in.

  4. #4
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    Default Thanks

    Thanks for sharing, looks like I have some more time to work on the boat and trailor.

  5. #5

    Default From Anchorage Daily News (nothing new from previous post)

    Last Modified: April 21st, 2009 12:38 PM

    The reopening of the road to Whittier is on hold again.

    A rock slide April 11 left a 300-foot pile of rubble as high as 30 feet on the road.

    State Department of Transportation spokesman Roger Wetherell says officials are worried about a large rock slab at the top of the slide area.

    He says the slab at first was thought to be stable, but cracks and fissures have appeared to indicate it could fall and endanger workers below.

    A geologist will make a recommendation on how to stabilize the slope.

    Wetherell says he's not sure how long it will take to assess the threat and take steps to address it.

    The rail line to Whittier was not affected. The Alaska Railroad started twice-daily trips between Whittier and Anchorage after the road was closed.

  6. #6

    Default

    Wish I knew how far along they were with clearing the road and if this one questionable slab is the only holdup. Too bad they can't just blast it off the wall and push it off the side of the road. Ordinarily, I might suspect that the workers/DOT (or any other gov't agency) were not working as hard as they could be, but I'm sure these guys are under lots of pressure and under the watchful eye of many people and are working hard. And the number one issue is safety. No boating trip is worth getting hit up 'side the head with a slab of rock. Am still hoping to get through the tunnel Friday for the first boating/fishing trip of the season.

  7. #7
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Default

    Don't know if folks recall a few years back when they start widening fishhook road up to Hatchers pass. They figured they'd just blast the narrow part and widen the road. Trouble was, a signifigant part of the hillside came down with the blast, and it took them a long time to clear the debri from the road.

    I'm thinking there will be a signifigant project to stabalize the hill, i.e. drilling bolts and gluing the mess together, and then they can procede to clear the road.

    Looks like I might be spending more time fishing Seward this summer, hopefully they get those bridges fixed As much as I like Homer, it's too far for a one or two day trip.

  8. #8
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Default most recent update:

    DOT update off http://511.alaska.gov/ today @ 2:12 P.M.


    Whittier Access Road: at Begich Peak Tunnel Entrance
    road closed, all lanes blocked because of a landslide
    Comment: Portage Glacier road will remain closed until further notice due to an unstable rock slope. DOT&PF personnel and the contractor are working as safely and as quickly as possible to clear the roadway and adjoining rock edifice of all hazards. The Alaska Railroad Corporation in cooperation with DOT&PF will continue to offer free shuttle service between Whittier and Anchorage twice daily until the roadway has been cleared and deemed safe for passage. You may contact the Alaska Railroad Corporation at 907-265-2494 for more information. Thank you for your continued patience.

    last updated today at 2:12 PM
    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
    OurPlayground.


  9. #9
    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    Default Rock slide clearing photos & press release

    Jay
    07 C-Dory 25 Cruiser
    OurPlayground.


  10. #10
    Member AkBillyBow's Avatar
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    Default

    Good report breausaw. When I saw the pics, all I could say was "WOW" !!

    Hope they get it cleared soon and hope no-one gets hurt.

    AkBillyBow
    2007 Glacier Bay Cat 2690 Coastal Runner, Twin Honda 150's

  11. #11

    Default Tunnel update 10:41 AM April 22

    From. ADOT 511 web site. Nothing new, really.

    Closure - Whittier Access Road
    Whittier Access Road: at Begich Peak Tunnel Entrance
    road closed, all lanes blocked because of a landslide — starting 10:45 PM, 04/22/09
    Comment: Portage Glacier road will remain closed until further notice due to an unstable rock slope. DOT&PF personnel and the contractor are working as safely and as quickly as possible to clear the roadway and adjoining rock edifice of all hazards. The Alaska Railroad Corporation in cooperation with DOT&PF will continue to offer free shuttle service between Whittier and Anchorage twice daily until the roadway has been cleared and deemed safe for passage. You may contact the Alaska Railroad Corporation at 907-265-2494 for more information. Thank you for your continued patience.

    last updated today at 10:41 AM

  12. #12
    Member powderhound's Avatar
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    Default

    gonna be a while!
    Hopefully the rail road will pony up soon and start pulling open trailers through.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default

    News tonight said they are going to blast the slab and then remove the rubble. Expected to take at least a month to complete the process.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  14. #14

    Default

    What was the news source? They said it would take one month?

  15. #15

    Default

    if one month is true, that is going to be bad for a lot of people. Especially for the city of Whittier. Hopefully they will get enough cleared away for one lane to go through at a time.

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by griff View Post
    if one month is true, that is going to be bad for a lot of people. Especially for the city of Whittier. Hopefully they will get enough cleared away for one lane to go through at a time.
    only one lane can go thruogh the tunnel anyway so that would be just as good!

  17. #17

    Default A month?

    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    News tonight said they are going to blast the slab and then remove the rubble. Expected to take at least a month to complete the process.
    Where did you get this information or is it just speculation on your part? I ask because I have not heard that from anyone else and I have fairly good sources.

  18. #18

    Default Federal Regulations

    Quote Originally Posted by dipnet View Post
    I vote the railroad put on some flat bed cars and we take our boats thru the tunnel like the good old days! Time is a-wasting!
    I read somewhere that the railroad could only haul vehicles if they had a federal permit to do so. The one they used previously when hauling passenger vehicles to and from Whittier was suspended or removed when the road through the tunnel was opened since it was no longer needed. Those kind of things probably are not easy to just start up again, just like any big permitting process.

  19. #19

    Default

    I know they probably don't want to again state when they think the road will be opened, but it would be nice to know what progress they are making. The ADOT updates are pretty generic.

  20. #20

    Exclamation No projection at this time

    DOT is not going to project an opening until later this week, or early next. Everything else is speculation and rumor. This is from a very reliable source.
    We never really grow up, we only learn
    how to act in public

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