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Study makes 8 recommendations

Posted: February 28, 2012 - 12:04am

The avalanche mitigation study commissioned by the City and Borough of Juneau and presented to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly on Monday makes eight recommendations. They are:

• An evacuation concept should be developed, perhaps at two levels — evacuation and closure of the severe hazard zone; evacuation and closure of severe and special engineering zones with closure of Egan Drive and Glacier Highway.

• Reduction of risk in the Behrends Avenue Subdivision is not feasible, nor is artificial release of avalanches. Buyout of homes is the preferred method of mitigation.

• The White Subdivision could be protected with new snow supporting structures, though artificial releases also are not recommended.

• Hazard zones in Behrends Avenue subdivision are too small by the 1992 map, and the 1972 map seems to be more accurate. It recommends to study the hazard situation in more detail. It also notes that Juneau-Douglas High School is not endangered by a 300-year avalanche. Only a wind blast of "extreme powder snow avalanche might influence the area of the school."

• The extent of hazard zones in the White Subdivision seem to be acceptable, but an extension of the severe zone slope to Egan Drive is recommended.

• Construction of buildings should be forbidden in the severe hazard zone. If buildings are allowed, structural reinforcements should be required.

• Installation of another automatic weather station at "starting zones" on Mount Juneau.

• A large avalanche could sweep cars off the road on Glacier Highway and Egan Drive, hindering emergency responses and possibly blocking road access to the hospital and airport, it states. Preventative closure of the roads might also be required, so a second crossing to Douglas Island is recommended to provide permanent access from downtown to the hospital.

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