The Latest: Crews clear lane of road, buses begin to return

The Latest: Crews clear lane of road, buses begin to return
This May 27, 2016, photo shows a tourist bus near Polychome Pass on the only road inside Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. Park officials on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, closed the park road at Mile 30 of the 92-mile road after a culvert washout and several mudslides in the area surrounding Polychome Pass and Eielson Visitor Center created unsafe conditions. Park officials say 300 tourists were inside the park, on the other side of the road closure (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

DENALI NATIONAL PARK, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on transportation problems in Alaska’s Denali National Park (all times local):

9:36 p.m.

Road crews have cleared one lane in Alaska’s Denali National Park, and buses are beginning to return about 300 stranded tourists back to the park entrance.

The tourists became stranded Friday after heavy rains triggered mudslides and caused excess water from a culvert to damage a road.

Park spokesman Paul Ollig tells The Associated Press that all the stranded passengers are expected back at the park entrance tonight, but he didn’t have an exact time of when they would arrive.

He said park officials would make an assessment later if the park road would reopen Saturday.

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9:21 p.m..

Three hundred tourists are stranded in a national park in Alaska after heavy rains triggered mudslides and caused excess water from a culvert to damage a road.

The superintendent of Denali National Park and Preserve closed Denali Park Road to all traffic at mile 30 on Friday. The road is the only one inside the vast park.

The National Park Service said in a news release it anticipates reopening the road Saturday.

But on Friday evening, a park official said the road could re-open sooner.

“The main area they’re focusing on is Polychrome Pass,” Paul Ollig, acting public information officer, told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “We are confident conditions are improving, and we should be able to get a lane clear this evening to get buses out of Toklat and evacuated through.”