Crews work to reopen Richardson Highway after massive snowstorm

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Transportation officials are working to dig out the Richardson Highway after an epic snowstorm in Thompson Pass, near Valdez, buried the road in several feet of snow.
Here's a look at the highway near the slide zone, where DOT crews are working to open as much of the road as they can.
Richardson Highway DOT Crew Member>>: "Here we are, opening up 37 to 42 after a major dump. Loader's punching a trail. You can see it's about three to four feet deep. And then we've got to go that way for about a mile and a half to get up to a slide that we know of, and then there's a car stuck in it too. We've got a lot of work ahead of us."
Meadow Bailey; Public Information Officer - AKDOT>>: "We have crews that are in there, they've been conducting avalanche mitigation this morning. They brought down any of the snow that was unstable and are in there clearing out the snow. There's just a tremendous amount of snow, though. In the past five days they've gotten 76 inches of snow and there's a forecast for 24 more inches today and tomorrow. We are just getting in there and starting to clear the snow that's in the road, so we need to really get a good assessment of how much we have to clear, and we hope to have a better understanding of how long it will take to get it open after that."
Ed Plumb; Meteorologist - National Weather Service>>: "The average snowfall for the year for Thompson Pass - this is at the Richardson Highway level, not up high or in the mountains - is 550 inches of snow, which is about 46 feet of snow, in a normal season at Thompson Pass. It's snowing there today. After the big snow they had there Tuesday night through Wednesday, when they had about 4 feet of snow at Thompson Pass, and expecting another one to two feet Thursday night - tonight - through Friday."
Most of the moisture from the storm system is being blocked by the mountains, so forecasters say not much will reach us here in the Interior.
But they're predicting light snow or even freezing rain in the Fairbanks area if temperatures stay warm.