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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 1, 2018
Press Release: 18-1057
Contact: Shannon McCarthy, (907) 269-0448, shannon.mccarthy@alaska.gov

Alaska DOT&PF Outlines Earthquake Response Activities

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) – In the wake of yesterday's earthquake and damage to transportation infrastructure, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is taking the opportunity to outline the department's emergency response activities.

"DOT&PF serves every community in Alaska. We have staff and equipment throughout the state ready to respond to emergencies. They are assisting with safety and movement of people, goods, and services," said DOT&PF Commissioner Marc Luiken.

Damage from the 7.0 earthquake was primarily located in Anchorage and surrounding areas, but the strong quake was felt across the state. Road and bridges across Alaska, from Valdez to Tok to Fairbanks and throughout Anchorage, are being inspected. The Alaska Marine Highway System inspected terminals and no damage was reported. The Whittier Tunnel was also inspected and found to be in good shape.

Across Anchorage, at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and at state owned facilities, crews are conducting inspections and repair work. Contractors are working with the department to help with the immense amount of work. For a complete list of damaged locations please visit this site. Earthquake updates are posted at this site.

When an emergency, such as an earthquake with tsunami potential, is announced, local DOT&PF employees:

  • Secure the physical safety of themselves and their family.
  • Move critical safety and heavy equipment to safe ground. This is because firefighting equipment could be needed during an emergency, and construction equipment could be necessary to clean up debris and rebuild after an event.
  • Open or close airports and ferry terminals, depending on time of day and need. This includes facilitating Coast Guard or military lift off or landing for emergency support.
  • Notify Alaska Marine Highway System vessels and secure safe passage.
  • Communicate with the public about safe transportation routes.

During an emergency, DOT&PF employees:

  • Continue to serve as first responders and assist in meeting community safety, infrastructure, and communications needs.

After an acute emergency is over, DOT&PF works to secure Alaska's infrastructure system, including:

  • Assessing the safety of roads, airports, and bridges.
  • Opening or closing transportation routes, depending on the need.
  • Continuing to communicate with the public about safe transportation.

The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities oversees 239 airports, 10 ferries serving 35 communities, more than 5,600 miles of highway and 731 public facilities throughout the state of Alaska. The mission of the department is to “Keep Alaska Moving through service and infrastructure.”

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