Avalanche danger closes Klondike Highway

The Alaska Department of Transportation and the Yukon Department of Highways closed the Klondike Highway at 3 p.m. Tuesday after Yukon engineers reported extreme avalanche danger along the highway.

The highway between Skagway and Whitehorse is maintained jointly by the two governments. While the highway passes through British Columbia, that province cedes maintenance on the Canadian side entirely to the Yukon government.

“They made the decision to close the highway and re-evaluate it tomorrow,” Alaska DOT spokesman Jeremy Woodrow said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “It’s likely the highway will be closed throughout the evening.”

The closure was made one hour after the Alaska Marine Highway System ferry LeConte departed Skagway for Haines on the last ferry trip out of Skagway until Friday.

Woodrow said the timing was “definitely coincidental,” as the request to close the road came from the Canadian side.

According to the National Weather Service, above-freezing temperatures have been seen in the White Pass area, softening the significant snow that fell earlier this month.

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