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Icy road sends cars into ditch

Accidents stall traffic to Eaglecrest Ski Area

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2002

Fresh snow falling on the road to Eaglecrest Ski Area on Sunday afternoon caused several cars to jackknife into the ditch, creating a bottleneck and delaying homebound skiers.

"It started snowing hard about 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon and covered what sand was on the road," said Lodge Manager Barbara Johnson. "People have to realize it's slow driving with those conditions."

"We called the Department of Transportation, but because it was Sunday they had to call someone in," Johnson said. "By the time the sander put chains on, the cars that created the blockage were gone."

"I saw three major places where cars had gone in (the ditch)," said Eaglecrest Manager Paul Swanson. "Snow was wetter lower on the mountain, and packed in like ice. In the cut area below the Fish Creek Bridge, it became dangerous when everyone was leaving about 4 or 4:30 p.m. Buses were held up. Police weren't allowing any cars up the road so parents couldn't pick up their kids."

When the road opened, the resort used buses to take children waiting for parents down to meet them, Swanson said. Some people were delayed for more than an hour.

Sgt. Kevin Siska of the Juneau Police Department said there were "lots of cars" involved, but no damage and no injuries reported. Capital City Fire & Rescue said it was not called to respond.

Fish Creek Road, also known as Eaglecrest Road, was graded and sanded by the state Department of Transportation before 8 a.m. today, Johnson said, but is still icy in spots. She advised caution when driving.

Although the ski resort is usually closed on Tuesday, Eaglecrest will be open Tuesday this week because public schools have an in-service day. Lifts, including the tubing area, operate 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.



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