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10/9/2019
Rock blast blocks N. Tongass roadway: Traffic halted as debris goes into roadway
Alaska Department of Transportation crews clear a rockslide caused from blasting in the area on Tuesday evening on North Tongass Highway near Cranberry Lane. Staff photo by Dustin Safranek


KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Traffic was stifled Tuesday evening as a rockslide blocked parts of the roadway near Mile 13 North Tongass Highway.

At around 5:30 p.m. construction involving drilling and blasting became hazardous as an explosion pushed rock and debris onto the highway.

There were no injuries from the incident, according to Alaska State Trooper Joey Beaudoin, but a nearby house sustained some damage. The force from the blast appeared to have cracked some of the foundation and foundation walls, Beaudoin said.

By 6:15 p.m., a front-end loader associated with the project had cleared enough debris to allow the flow of one lane of traffic. Local firefighters were directing traffic.

The construction was being done by Williams Drilling and Blasting, which is based on Prince of Wales Island. One construction worker estimated 7,500 yards of rock debris had mounded up on the roadway.

Workers from the Alaska Department of Transportation arrived around 7 p.m. Traffic was delayed as one front-end loader scooped up debris on the roadway and filled a dump truck.

The rockslide was located across the street from a turnout, which DOT utilized for clean-up operations.

No estimate on how long it would take to clear the debris was immediately available.