ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has amended a state disaster declaration so a small fishing town can get assistance for the damage caused by the magnitude 7.1 earthquake last year.
The Republican governor amended the declaration last week to add an area that includes the town of Whittier, about 60 miles (96.5 kilometers) southeast of Anchorage, the Anchorage Daily News reported Thursday.
The area was left out of former Gov. Bill Walker's declaration from the Nov. 30 quake that shook south-central Alaska. The December declaration included Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and the Kenai Peninsula Boroughs.
A preliminary assessment by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has identified $507,000 in potentially eligible repairs in the town, Dunleavy said in a letter to state lawmakers. The city is looking for assistance to "address severe seismic-shaking damage to critical utility infrastructure, the city and ocean docks, harbor parking areas, and the breakwater that protects the small boat harbor," Dunleavy said.
The state's damage estimate is conservative, said Jim Hunt, Whittier's city manager. The quake caused extensive damage, but the full extent is not yet known, he said. The city needs funding for engineers to assess the area.
"We're kind of looking forward to where the road takes us as we go forward because in some of these circumstances we don't know what we don't know," Hunt said. "The lights are still on, but we need to take a deeper look at the foundations of our infrastructure."
Inspections were conducted on the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel — the only access road to the town — after the quake, but snow was still covering infrastructure, Hunt said.