Broken Apart, Coming Together


 

Spring_2019 Broken Apart, Coming Together

On Nov. 30, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake created significant damage to bridges and roads, including a highly used off-ramp at International Airport Road and Minnesota Drive in Anchorage. Within hours the Alaska Department
of Transportation  & Public Facilities organized a number of contractors to begin repairs to this major junction near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities

It was a time of neighbors going door to door to check on each other, of people working around the clock so families and workplaces could reopen their doors.
Nov. 30, 2018, was a momentous day in the history of Southcentral Alaska, and not just because of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that disrupted the morning. While political division swirled both in and outside the state, Alaskans came together to help each other in our collective time of need. Because that’s who we are.

In the pages of this edition, you’ll find stories of extra effort put in to help the pace of life return to normal. People verified that their own families were OK and then got to work repairing roads, inspecting bridges, making schools safe, mending water lines or restoring electricity.

The fast response garnered Alaska international attention. Pictures showing a road broken into huge disparate chunks circled the globe, a visual tale of the earthquake’s power. Four days later, pictures showing a fully repaired road circulated, such a fast turnaround that people thought it must be another internet hoax. It was no hoax — it was Alaskan fortitude at work.

The fast response caught attention from many, including the American Public Works Association’s Alaska chapter. In January it presented AGC of Alaska with an award to honor all the contractors who pitched in to help after the earthquake. In February, the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities partnered with AGC to host a “thank you” reception for DOT&PF staff, private contractors, and local and state government employees for “immediate and extraordinary actions” following the quake.

While temporary repairs have been made, it will be years before the long-term repairs to public roads and public buildings are complete. For private companies and homeowners, it might take even longer. The Municipality of Anchorage had nearly 3,000 home inspection requests following the earthquake (about 1,300 are still pending), and more than 300 properties were tagged either red, which stands for unable to be occupied, or yellow, which stands for “restricted use,” meaning additional aftershocks could make the structure unsafe.

Families and businesses are seeking state and federal assistance to make repairs; the journey to long-term recovery has, for the most part, just begun. Join us as we recognize the workers who turned heads around the world by making immediate repairs, and stay tuned as we, in future editions, check in on the long-term recovery.

Spring_2019 Broken Apart_President_and Executive Director Award

Associated General Contractors of Alaska Executive Board President Cuauhtemoc “Rod” Rodriguez and Assistant Executive Director Thea Scalise accept an award from American Public Works Association Alaska Chapter President Brittany Barkshire in January. The award was to honor the contractors, many of them AGC of Alaska members, who pitched in following the earthquake and worked on projects that allowed Alaskans to return to normal life after the Nov. 30 earthquake. Photo courtesy AGC of Alaska