December 19, 2018
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The Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities is continuing to conduct safety assessments of state and public owned facilities in locations affected by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck the state on Nov. 30.

[Above photo by Alaska DOT&PF.]

The agency said it has identified 123 facilities for assessment and as of a Dec. 5 update some 60 assessments are complete, with assessments on other critical state facilities are complete or are scheduled for completion in the next two days.

Alaska DOT&PF also noted that it reopened Glenn Highway northbound and southbound lanes on Dec. 5 as well so “normal travel activities” can start to resume.

Photo by Alaska DOT&PF

The agency is also working with the Matanuska-Susitna Borough to restore and reopen Vine Road, which suffered “remarkable damage” during the earthquake. Alaska DOT&PF said it has assigned a construction manager to the project and is working with private contractor, Northern Asphalt Construction, to start repairs.

The agency added that two main factors affect asphalt compaction: temperature and time. “Crews will take extra steps to accommodate for these factors,” it said in a statement. “Alaska’s contractors are experienced and they are dedicated to repairing the asphalt surfaces damaged by the earthquake.

The agency – which oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 731 public facilities – inspected 243 bridges in earthquake-affected areas, including state and local bridges, but so far, no structural damage has been found.

MacKinnon photo via KTUU

Alaska DOT&PF also underwent a leadership change during its earthquake recovery effort as John MacKinnon became the agency’s new commissioner on Dec. 3 following the swearing-in of Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R).

“Since Friday’s earthquake, DOT&PF employees and Alaska contractors have worked tirelessly to re-establish essential transportation links,” said Gov. Dunleavy said in a statement. “Regardless of the challenges, they have committed to finding solutions in record time.”

The agency also continues to provide earthquake-specific updates at: http://dot.alaska.gov/earthquake2018/

Photo by Alaska DOT&PF

The Federal Highway Administration also provided $5 million in “quick release” emergency funds to Alaska DOT&PF on Dec. 1 to pay for the repairs made to restore essential traffic and prevent additional damage at emergency repair locations in Anchorage and surrounding areas.

“The earthquake devastated roads and bridges across south-central Alaska, and these emergency funds will help reopen important sections of road more quickly to speed the overall recovery,” noted USDOT Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement.

She added that such“quick release” funds are considered a “down payment” on the costs of short-term repairs while the state continues damage assessments for long-term repairs for highways and bridges impacted by natural disasters or catastrophic events.

editor@aashto.org

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