Alaska Roads Literally Shattered By Most Destructive Earthquake To Hit Anchorage In Decades


Energy Services North employees prepare to replace a fallen street light Friday, Nov. 30, 2018, in Anchorage, Alaska, one of the effects of the morning’s earthquake which caused extensive damage to the local area. Scientists say the damaging Alaska earthquake and aftershocks occurred on a type of fault in which one side moves down and away from the other side. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)ASSOCIATED PRESS

Power was restored early Saturday to most of Anchorage following the most significant earthquake to hit Alaska’s most populous region in over fifty years and crews are working to repair damaged gas and water infrastructure, but mangled roads in the city and around may take years to fix.

Overall, the region fared very well after a magnitude 7.0 temblor hit Friday morning, followed by dozens of aftershocks. While many buildings and roads sustained damage, no deaths have been reported. It appears that shake-ready building codes and knowledge of what to do when the ground starts to tremble may have helped prevent catastrophe.

Still, numerous cuts from broken glass and other minor injuries have been streaming into local hospitals and clinics. The Anchorage Daily News says one injury was reportedly serious.

When all the ceiling tiles are replaced and things put back on shelves, though, Alaska has months and years of work ahead to repair many buildings and roads. The most dramatic examples include a road near Wasilla that was completely shattered, inspiring lots of fascination before emergency crews arrived on the scene to close it off:

Widely circulated images show a car stranded where a road near the Anchorage International Airport also buckled.

Immediately following the quake, residents were advised to shelter in place and stay off the roads as aftershocks rollicked across the area and safety crews checked the pavement.

The quake was felt hundreds of miles away and a number of roads sustained at least some damage, prompting emergency responders and other officials to fan out and assess the extent of the impacts. By afternoon it was determined that the highway linking the Anchorage metro area to Fairbanks, the state’s second-largest city,  was passable after all bridges along the route passed inspection.

The roughed-up roads created to a number of detours during Friday afternoon’s rush hour, leading police to convert all lanes of one highway to outbound traffic for a few hours in order to get everyone home.

Alaska is just now beginning to wake up to its first day following its biggest tremors in years. Police say road closures, delays and detours will continue throughout the weekend. Judging by the damage, some are likely to continue throughout the year and beyond.  Check back here for short-term updates as we learn about them.

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