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April 20, 2014

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Alaska highway to Valdez could reopen Wednesday

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 | 12:32 p.m.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska highway officials say they expect to reopen an avalanche-choked highway by Wednesday afternoon, nearly two weeks after walls of snow cut off the only road into Valdez (val-DEEZ').

The Richardson Highway has been blocked by avalanches since Jan. 24. Air and water access remains open to Valdez.

The Alaska Department of Transportation announced Tuesday the final blockage in Keystone Canyon at Miles 12 to 18 should be opened by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Avalanche gates wills remain closed until the reopening.

The department says it has completed multiple stability tests to ensure the highway can support heavy loads and that the highway is in good shape.

The avalanche dammed the Lowe River and created a lake across the highway. Crews couldn't reach the snow from the upstream side until Friday.