Anchorage cable car tunnel flooded with traffic due to avalanche

Story highlights Cable Car Tunnel in Anchorage, Alaska, was closed to pedestrians and vehicles Saturday due to an avalanche.

The tunnel reopened Sunday. All walkways and lanes reopened.

Alaska is not exactly known for extreme weather, especially when it comes to snow. But an avalanche Friday that forced the cable car tunnel in the city of Anchorage to close for the weekend is not an ordinary set of weather conditions.

While the tunnel reopened for vehicles and pedestrians on Sunday, not all of the walkways reopened, affecting more than 4,000 vehicles trying to access their destinations on the East Coast of Alaska through Anchorage.

“The Alaska Motor Vehicle Division did check the walkways yesterday and no additional debris was present, however it may be a few days before the walkways are clear and safe to use,” the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said in a statement.

Much of the traffic on I-80 was diverted to other arteries, including those for vehicles or pedestrians. However, there are some direct routes between the Lower 48 and the rest of Alaska, which impacted travel for residents of Anchorage, a regional hub.

This is what the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities says:

“Thousands of motorists including school children were affected as they attempted to reach the city and resorts and those choosing to travel in small private cars, buses and recreational vehicles were jammed in increasingly congested areas.”

CNN’s sister network, HLN, reported that as many as 30,000 vehicles were expected to drive through the tunnel on a Saturday that’s usually only open for local transportation. The Alaska Department of Transportation, which operated the tunnel, however, has since blamed the 12 to 20-foot avalanche on a landslide.

The Alaska Department of Transportation has since reopened the road, and it is now advised to use alternate routes, including routes 200, 280 and 30.

Before last week’s travel incident, this was the only tunnel in the country where it is possible to drive from one side of the US mainland to the other without going through an airport. The tunnel, which was also the only tunnel in the state, is roughly two miles long.

As CNN and HLN reported, no injuries were reported as a result of the snowy trip through the tunnel.

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