Traffic Accident and Jam on Highway to Portage

United States' flag
North America » United States » Alaska » Portage
July 31st 2015
Published: December 28th 2015
Edit Blog Post

Leaving Seward in the mid-morning, we were on our way to explore Portage Glacier and the town of Whittier before returning to Anchorage by night. Around 12:30pm, we had to come to a dead stop behind a line of cars.

It soon became apparent we weren’t going to be moving any time soon. People started getting out of their cars and sharing information from their radios. There had been a fatal accident about one mile ahead of us. Initially, it was estimated that the wait would only be a few hours but that kept being extended.

The main arteries, Highways 1 and 9 and the Seward Highway did not have any auxiliary routes that could be used as detours. We were stuck there until the accident was cleared. Because there was a death, the collection of forensic evidence could take hours.

As time wore on, the lines began to snake back towards Seward for miles. I walked up near the accident and enjoyed the beautiful scenes of Portage Glacier in the distance and bright meadows in the foreground. People seemed for the most part relaxed and patient, one family even changing into swimsuits and going down to a riverfront. I had the impression Alaskans were used to being held up like this with their one road access to distant regions.

A police came by at 9pm and said it would one more hour. At 10:30pm, we finally saw car lights turn on and motors start. To our alarm, we couldn’t turn the engine in our car over – somehow we must have left a door slightly ajar and inadvertently drained the battery. Worse, we were sitting on a bridge and realized no one would be able to proceed around us.

I jumped out of our car and ran from vehicle to vehicle behind us, asking anyone for a boost. Finally, I found an RV owner 20+ cars back who had a battery booster kit. Walking quickly back to our car with this hero, we saw four men pushing our car forward and off the side past the bridge.

After more than 10 hours sitting on the road, we were on our way to Anchorage and the next leg of our trip, into the interior and heart of Alaska.

Additional Note: One of the final write ups in the news over the next few days was published at this link

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


30th December 2015

Alaskan traffic jams
Woah! Looks like one Alaskan traffic jam is equivalent to 5 somewhere else. Yikes, that's a long wait to get moving!

Tot: 0.147s; Tpl: 0.01s; cc: 12; qc: 68; dbt: 0.048s; 1; m:domysql w:travelblog (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.1mb