AEL&P vows more protection for Snettisham

Posted: Sunday, June 01, 2008

On the tails of a recently completed avalanche report, Alaska Electric Light & Power Co. says it will protect the Snettisham transmission lines from avalanche danger in the future.

AEL&P Vice President Scott Willis said it will be years down the road before the company has drawn plans and completed the work, but it will happen. Until then the snowpack will be monitored and avalanche control work may happen, he said.

Alaska Avalanche Specialists prepared a report detailing the April 16 avalanche cycle that took down the line. The report explains that the avalanches reached the highest measurable level of destructive force and were triggered by rain that reached the 2,000-foot level of Spiel Shoulder, sending avalanches up to 8 feet deep into the line.

Though the avalanche danger is expected to return with next winter's snow, Willis said the threat of avalanche is over for the year.

Alternatives are already being evaluated for an initial program that would protect the line until construction of a replacement avalanche-toughened line is complete, said avalanche expert Bill Glude of Avalanche Specialists.

Willis said AEL&P will check various protection concepts against alternative methods such as burying the line or replacing it with a submarine cable.

• Contact reporter Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or e-mail

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