Video: Watch Thane Road avalanche on DOT camera - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, January 16, 2022
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Video: Watch Thane Road avalanche on DOT camera

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The Alaska Department of Transportation released video footage of the avalanche that buried Thane Road on Jan. 2, 2022, cutting off road and power to residents south of Juneau.

DOT was able to clear enough of the road by Monday to get power crews through to begin restoring electricity to the neighborhood, which hugs the side of Gastineau Channel.

Avalanches are regular features of Thane Road, but usually the DOT blasts the avalanche chute to clear the hazard, and then removes the snow from the roadway. Sometimes the avalanches reach the Gastineau Channel, as it did on Sunday.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Dayum!!!

  • This is a DOT FAILURE.

    Natural avalanches should never hit open roads. This was 3 in the morning with a road open to the public.luxky for the state of AK no one was killed.

    Should have closed the road and shot it the afternoon before.

    • Now, just multiple this by 40 or so, and this is what any road from Haines to Juneau (or even from Berner’s Bay to Juneau) would be dealing with regularly in the winter. Not to mention all the people who would be killed in that ongoing avalanche of avalanches.

    • Jefferson, I appreciate your comments here on Must Read, however I believe you maybe in error with certain statements above. First off the road between Juneau and Berners Bay, ( at least to Cascade Point) is already in place. The only Avalanche area along that route is above Aurora Basin and has not had an Avalanche of significance since 1962.
      Secondly, I once asked the late Joe Perkins about the area between Berners Bay and across from Lutak Inlet in regards to Avalanche dangers. His answer was that according to D.O.T.’s studies,(late 1990’s) this area was less prone to Avalanche dangers then that section of the Seward Highway between Anchorage to Girdwood.
      Given the history of Maritime disasters in Lynn Channel, including the sinking of both the Princess Sophia and the Clara Nevada with a loss of all souls on each ship, it seems to me that dodging an occasional Avalanche might not be so bad.

      • Robert, yes, you are correct, I miswrote about the proposed road in question — I should have said “from Berners Bay to Haines”, not “from Berners Bay to Juneau”.
        .
        In regards to the overall avalanche danger of the proposed road from Haines to Juneau, as was being pushed by Frank Murkowski in the mid-2000s, I recall a DOT representative at the time stating that there would be over 40 avalanche chutes to deal with on such a road, and that avalanche mitigation would be a significant factor and cost of the proposed road. I can hardly claim to be an expert on the situation, however.

  • Growing up in Juneau we were always reminded of the dangers that an Avalanche can bring. I recall sitting in my mothers Pontiac Station wagon with my date named Cindy one cold night at the bottom of this same avalanche chute. We were visiting like most teenagers will do and were oblivious to our surroundings. Suddenly a rap on my window got my full attention. Standing outside of the wagon was an Alaska State Trooper, he suggested that perhaps we find another place to park! Thank Goodness for Public Safety.

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