The Alaska Dept. of Transportation and Public Facilities "rough estimate" for repairs to transportation infrastructure is $20 million following Sunday's powerful earthquake 92 miles south of Fairbanks, says a DOT spokeswoman.
Shannon McCarthy says two major highways between Fairbanks and Anchorage--the Richardson Highway and the George Parks Highway--suffered substantial damage in the midday quake, which measured 7.9 on the Richter scale. A 4.5-ft-wide crack opened on the Alaska Highway, the only highway out of the state, and the Tok Cutoff--"a critical highway for south-central Alaska"--was limited to a single lane of traffic, she adds. Some connecting roads also have been damaged, and a report early Wednesday morning described the Northway Airport as "pretty chewed up," she says. This "important rural airport" suffered an 8-in. drop along the runway's centerline among other damage.
Emergency repairs on the Parks and Richardson highways were completed almost immediately, but McCarthy says repair of the Tok Cutoff will take three to five weeks. She emphasizes that these are only emergency repairs, and that permanent repairs will occur next summer. Traffic engineers will make more precise estimates of the repair costs later this week, she says.