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Flooding on 66 Miles of Highway Isolates Alaska Oil Port of Valdez

The Nation

October 12, 2006|From the Associated Press

ANCHORAGE — Floodwaters so severely damaged a 66-mile stretch of highway that it could be closed for up to a week, isolating the port of Valdez from the rest of Alaska, state officials said Wednesday.

"There are huge washouts in the roadway and approaches to bridges," said Shannon McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Transportation. "We have debris on the road. We have mudslides. We have asphalt that's literally missing, that just washed away."

The heavy rain in Valdez and other south-central Alaska communities this week had eased to lighter showers by Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Conditions were expected to improve in southern and eastern parts of the state.

The break gave residents a chance to assess the damage or return to homes after evacuations Tuesday in some communities, including Valdez, the terminus of the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

No injuries were reported.

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