Major roads still dangerous after Alaska earthquake rattles infrastructure
- Roads leading from the Port of Anchorage were severely damaged after a magnitude 7 earthquake hit the city Friday, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The Alaska Department of Transportation has warned motorists to stay clear of parts of Glenn and Seward Highways, two of the state's major arteries.
- The earthquake brought concern that the city's port — Alaska's major source of food and supplies — would be compromised. The port, it seems, was largely unharmed and reopened Monday morning with ships coming in as scheduled.
- Some rail freight resumed on Sunday, but track repairs are still in progress north of the city.
Alaska is fairly unique in its isolation, but this natural disaster brings into focus the value of a single port to the welfare of the populations they serve.
Roughly 90% of the goods sold in all of Alaska come through the Port of Anchorage. The expansive, sparsely populated state uses all manner of transport, including rail, truck and aircraft, to move goods from the port to the final destination.
Worries about automotive and jet fuel shortages persisted through the weekend, but Municipal Manager Bill Falsey said Monday the city had a three-week supply and that more was expected this Friday, with no reason for concern.
It's rare in 2018 that a city or even a full state would have its eyes trained on the port for supplies, but in Alaska, with temperatures dropping and daylight scarce, city officials reassure the public with the date of the next ship arrival.
"Port of Alaska’s resiliency through this earthquake demonstrates the value of adhering to stringent engineering and maintenance schedules and standards. Unfortunately, good maintenance slows but can’t stop corrosion, and this level of performance is not sustainable for even a few more years," said Port of Alaska director Steve Ribuffo in a statement.
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