Alaska’s earthquake-damaged road repaired, reopened just days later

When a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Alaska last week, a highway ramp that leads to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport looked destroyed beyond repair. Four days later, quick-moving construction workers rebuilt the ramp and the road reopened between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, Shannon McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities … Continue reading “Alaska’s earthquake-damaged road repaired, reopened just days later”

When a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Alaska last week, a highway ramp that leads to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport looked destroyed beyond repair.

Four days later, quick-moving construction workers rebuilt the ramp and the road reopened between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, Shannon McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities said.

The large earthquake struck at 8:29 a.m. last Friday and was followed by a magnitude 5.7 quake. Aftershocks of 4.0 or large were regular occurrences afterward. More than 1,000 aftershocks rattled the region in the days following the quake itself, according to scientists.

The off-ramp that carries traffic from south Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula to the state’s largest airport was identified was one site that had a break in “essential travel” and was among the highest priorities for officials to get fixed. No one was injured when the ramp collapsed.

“We basically called the contracting community, and we split up the sites between multiple contractors and our construction staff,” McCarthy said.

Construction workers rebuilt the ramp that was significantly damaged during a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. (AP)

Construction workers were forced to restart their asphalt plants in order to help get the roadway back into shape. The asphalt plants had been shut down for the season in late October.

“As soon as the quake happened, as soon as the contractors felt their asphalt plants were safe, they ran over and started up their asphalt plants,” McCarthy said.

Work on the off-ramp began at sundown Friday and the asphalt was ready to be laid down soon after.

“That's almost unheard of,” McCarthy said.

The Glenn Highway, which is the only roadway leading north from Anchorage, was fully reopened Wednesday. Crews had to fix all six lanes because of massive sinkholes near Mirror Lake.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

Alaska Democrat plans to appeal after Republican wins state House recount by a single vote

An Alaska Democrat who lost a recount in a state House election by one vote said she will contest the results.

On Wednesday, Kathryn Dodge said she will file paperwork with the Alaska Supreme Court after disagreeing with the state Division of Elections. A recount held last Friday, showed Republican Bart LeBon edging Dodge by one vote.

LeBon picked up two extra votes and Dodge just one. The pair had been tied at 2,661 votes apiece.

“This race has gone back and forth, favoring me and my opponent at one time or another during a lengthy process,” Dodge said in a statement. “I believe that it is important to follow the process through so that absolutely no doubt remains about this incredibly close result.”

“After careful consideration & consultation with my legal team, I have decided to appeal the recount results based on decisions concerning several ballots made by the Div. of Elections with which we did not agree," Dodge added.

State Elections Director Josie Bahnke said the ballot picked up by Dodge during the recount was marked by a highlighter and not read by a machine.

LeBon received a vote that was initially rejected. Election officials later determined the voter who cast the ballot lived in the district. He picked up another when officials determined the voter was eligible to vote.

With LeBon, House Republicans will have 21 members, enough to control the 40-member chamber. The party will also control the Senate and governor’s office.

A ballot not counted was found on a precinct table on Election Day and later determined to have been a spoiled ballot where a voter made a mistake and a new ballot was requested and cast, Bahnke said.

Jay Parmley, executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party, said he feels good about Dodge's chances.

“It’s certainly not going to hurt anything," Parmley said. “It’s a lot easier to accept the outcome at that point, that every vote has been sort of debated and argued and thought about.”

If Dodge decides to appeal, the state Supreme Court recount the ballots. If the result is another tie, the race could be decided by coin toss.

Alaska state Sen. Bryce Edgmon won his 2006 race after a coin toss, saying it’s “not something I would wish for anybody to go through.”

If it comes to that, Dodge said she and LeBon should share the seat and “discuss every vote we take and come to an agreement” instead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

More than 1,000 aftershocks rattle Alaska region where magnitude 7.0 quake struck

More than 1,000 aftershocks were felt around Alaska in the days after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck the region Friday.

There have been about 1,400 aftershocks — including 17 that registered 4.0 or higher and five that registered greater than 5.0 — near the epicenter of Friday’s quake, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Scientists warned of more jolts expected over the next few days.

“You can expect earthquakes in magnitude 5 or 4 to continue for the next couple of weeks, and as time goes on it tapers off,” Rafael Abreu, a U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist, told the Anchorage Daily News.

The large earthquake affected many roads around the Anchorage area. The Glenn Highway, one of Alaska’s roadways that links Anchorage to northern communities, was among the roads damaged. However, there were no deaths or injuries reported due to the quake.

This aerial photo shows damage on Vine Road, south of Wasilla, Alaska, after earthquakes Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

State workers in Anchorage were given the day off to help quell any possible traffic issues. Employees who live north of the city were also encouraged to take Monday off or work from home. Gov. Bill Walker said he would remain in Anchorage to help with recovery efforts instead of traveling to Noorvik for Gov.-elect Mike Dunleavy’s swearing-in ceremony.

Schools were also set to remain closed for the week to allow officials to inspect any possible damage to the buildings, Superintendent Deena Bishop said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.

Control of Alaska House could come down to coin toss

Control of the Alaska state House has come down to just one race – and it could be decided by a coin toss.

Following a recount, Republican Bart LeBon edged out Democrat Kathryn Dodge by just one vote. Previously, the pair was tied with 2,661 votes apiece.

Dodge has until Wednesday to appeal the recount, the Juneau Empire reported. She said she will “think on things” with her team.

“People kept calling it close,” Dodge previously said of the race. “I just didn't know it was going to be squeaky.”

LeBon wasn’t confident his victory was secured.

“I don’t think this is over. Do you? I’m pretty sure this has got another layer to it,” LeBon told the Juneau Empire. “I would be thrilled if it was over, but is this over? I just don’t think so.”

Should LeBon’s victory be certified, Republicans would narrowly control the House, as well as the Senate and governor’s office in Alaska.

But if Dodge does appeal, it would be up to the state’s Supreme Court to recount the ballots one-by-one. And if that recount resulted in yet another tie, the race could be decided by just a coin toss.

According to Alaska Public Media, state law says a tie would be broken “by lot.” And it’s happened before.

POSSIBLE VOTER FRAUD PROBED IN TIGHT NORTH CAROLINA HOUSE RACE

Democratic state Rep. Bryce Edgmon, the current House Speaker, won his race in 2006 after a coin toss. He said it’s “not something I would wish for anybody to go through.”

“Then-Rep. Moses actually won the right to call. And he called heads, and the coin came up tails,” Edgmon recalled to Alaska Public Media. “And in the split-second it took me to realize that I had actually won, my brother was up on the stage and a crowd of at least 300 or 400 people – all the media it seemed in Alaska – just, it was massive pandemonium. And I don’t think I remember too much after that.”

A Dodge victory in Alaska would leave the House split.

Dodge called the possibility of a coin toss “absurd” and suggested she and LeBon share the seat and “discuss every vote we take and come to an agreement” instead.

“I’ve come too far to have a coin toss settle this,” LeBon said.

Fox News’ Lukas Mikelionis and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn.

Alaska hit by dozens of small earthquakes in wake of Friday’s major temblor

Dozens of small temblors shook parts of Alaska Saturday, a day after a powerful 7.0-magnitude earthquake buckled roads, damaged buildings, knocked out power and frayed nerves, according to reports.

There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries following Friday’s quake near Anchorage and a 5.7 aftershock minutes later.

"It was probably a good 30 to 40 seconds of slow-motion disaster," said Chris Riekena, an engineer with the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Aerial photo shows damage on Vine Road, south of Wasilla, Alaska, after earthquake Friday. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

Riekena was on a freeway driving his seven-year-old son to school when the rumbling started and the road started splitting apart.

ALASKA EARTHQUAKE ROCKS ANCHORAGE BUILDINGS, BUCKLES ROADS, SHOCKING VIDEOS AND PHOTOS REVEAL

"Thankfully I pulled over when I did," he said. "I've walked around the site enough over the last few hours that I've replayed that a few times."

About 30,000 customers were without power as utility companies scrambled to restore the lights, USA Today reported.

Enstar Natural Gas Company was adding workers from Michigan to help with recovery and survey 3,488 miles of pipeline for leaks, according to the paper.

Aerial photo of damage from earthquake on Vine Road, south of Wasilla, Alaska. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

Gov. Bill Walker issued a disaster declaration.

President Trump also issued an emergency declaration for Alaska.

ALASKA EARTHQUAKE CLAIMED NO LIVES, OFFICIALS SAY, BUT INFRASTRUCTURE DAMAGE IS ANOTHER STORY

Alaska state seismologist Mike West said Friday’s earthquake was the “most significant” to strike Anchorage since a 9.2-magnitute quake in 1964 that killed 129 people—the most powerful ever recorded in the U.S.

"There is quite a bit of damage across Anchorage," West said in a Facebook Live interview, according to the paper. “I’m not aware of large-scale building collapses, but I think it’s safe to say there are thousands of homes and businesses and buildings that were damaged in some fashion, be it a deck that slid downhill, a cracked foundation, a gas line disconnected from the house."

A ramp from International Airport Road to Minnesota Drive was damaged in an earthquake on Friday. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP)

The state averages 40,000 earthquakes a year, with more large quakes than the 49 other states combined. Southern Alaska has a high risk of earthquakes because the Earth's plates slide past each other under the region.

Alaska has been hit by a number of powerful quakes over 7.0 in recent decades, including a 7.9 last January southeast of Kodiak Island. But it is rare for a quake this big to strike so close to such a heavily populated area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alaska Republican wins House race by 1 vote after recount — but expects Democrat to challenge results

Every vote counts, they say — and that was never more true than on Friday in Alaska, where a Republican won a U.S. House race by a single vote following a recount.

On a day that Alaskans were primarily focused on a frightening earthquake that caused considerable damage, Republican Bart LeBon, a retired banker, defeated Democrat Kathryn Dodge by a single vote after both were previously tied with 2,661 votes each.

Following the recount, LeBon gained two extra votes, while Dodge got one additional vote, making LeBon the victor.

Kathryn Dodge, a Democrat, was tied with Republican Bart LeBon in an election for a U.S. House seat in Alaska. (Sam Harrel/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner via AP, File)

The election had its share of controversy. Before the recount, a mystery ballot was found weeks ago on the table in a voting precinct, potentially determining the fate of the election. In the end, it wasn’t counted because it turned out to be a spoiled ballot by a voter who made a mistake on it.

If LeBon’s victory is certified, Alaska will become a single-party state with the GOP holding the House, Senate and governor’s office.

Alaska House District 1 candidate Republican Bart LeBon points to a vote tally board with his campaign manager Brittany Hartmann during a election recount at the Department of Elections’ Juneau office on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.  (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire via AP)

The Democrat still has five days to appeal the election outcome to the state Supreme Court. It remains unclear if her campaign is seriously considering the challenge.

“People kept calling it close,” Dodge once said of the race. “I just didn’t know it was going to be squeaky.”

But the Republican believes the election and the ballot counting that lasted for three weeks is far from over, saying he expected a legal challenge from whoever loses the recount.

“I’m pretty sure this has got another layer to it,” he said. “I would be thrilled if it was over, but is this over? I just don’t think so.”

“I’m pretty sure this has got another layer to it. I would be thrilled if it was over, but is this over? I just don’t think so.”

— Republican Bart LeBon

If the Democrat decides to pursue a legal action and the new recounts puts the two candidates at a tie, the winner would be decided by a coin toss.

The current state House speaker, Democrat Bryce Edgmon, won his 2006 primary election after a coin toss.

He said the practice of deciding the winner through a coin toss is “not something I would wish for anybody to go through.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Alaska earthquake claimed no lives, officials say, but infrastructure damage is another story

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake rocked the state of Alaska on Friday morning, churning up roads and sending office workers running to the streets in scenes locals described as pure "anarchy."

The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was centered about five miles north of Anchorage, Alaska's largest city.

Republican Rep. Donald Young said at a press conference Friday evening that an initial assessment found that the earthquake was not deadly. “We’re quite pleased to report that there’s been no deaths at this time that we know of,” he said.

But if the news, from a casualty standpoint, was good, infrastructure was another story. Republican Sen.Lisa Murkowski said there was major concern regarding recovery efforts and safety.

“The impact is very real, the impact is very hard, and it will require apparently a great deal of recovery and effort,”’ she said. “There are homes without power. There is some concern that you may have gas line breaks that could lead to potential further disasters.”

GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan added that the state has already seen major aftershocks, “some above 5.0” magnitude.

“Make no mistake, this was a big one,” he said, citing a serious concern regarding transportation impact. “Right now the highways in and out of Anchorage, with the exception of one going up north, are cut off and that’s a big problem for us.”

Sullivan did add that despite the damage to roads and bridges, a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator told state officials that there were “no reports of any major building collapse.”

This photo provided by David Harper shows merchandise that fell off the shelves during an earthquake at a store in Anchorage, Alaska, on Friday. (AP)

In one update on Friday afternoon, AP said Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll was recounting reports that parts of a scenic highway that heads from Anchorage toward mountains and glaciers have sunken and "completely disappeared.".

He said officials were evaluating the damage to the Glenn Highway, but some was viewed as so significant that it will probably "take a long time to repair."

Doll also said damage to bridges has been reported.

An AP reporter working in downtown Anchorage saw cracks in a two-story building after the quake.

People went back inside buildings after the earthquake, but a smaller aftershock a short time later sent them running back into the streets again.

Slaton was alone and home and soaking in the bathtub when the Alaska earthquake struck.

He said the quake created a powerful back-and-forth sloshing in the bathtub and before he knew it, he'd been thrown out of the tub by the force of the waves.

His 120-pound mastiff panicked and tried to run down the stairs, but the house was swaying so much she was thrown off her feet and into a wall and tumbled to the base of the stairs, Slaton added.

A lawyer who spoke to the Associated Press called it the most "violent" earthquake he's experience in his 20 years in Anchorage.

Hank Graper says he was driving when the quake struck. He first thought his vehicle had a flat tire, then thought it was exploding. He realized it was an earthquake after he saw traffic poles swaying.

The federal Disaster Relief Fund, which has about $30 billion, should have sufficient resources for the state's immediate post-quake needs, Fox News has been told. But it will take a while to determine the scope of the damage and how much assistance may be needed later.

Murkowski, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, told Fox the main roadways leading to and from the airport are damaged badly and cannot be repaired until spring. Most goods come into Alaska via Anchorage.

Alaska averages 40,000 earthquakes per year, with more large quakes than the other 49 states combined.

Southern Alaska has a high risk of earthquakes due to tectonic plates sliding past each other under the region. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Pacific plate is sliding northwestward and plunges beneath the North American plate in southern Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula and the Aleutian Islands.

On March 27, 1964, Alaska was hit by a magnitude 9.2 earthquake, the strongest recorded in U.S. history, centered about 75 miles east of Anchorage. The quake, which lasted about 4½ minutes, and the tsunami it triggered claimed about 130 lives.

As of Friday night, commercial flights in and out of Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport had resumed, according to Murkowski. She also noted that the state’s gas pipeline had been shut down as a “precautionary” measure.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @PaulinaDedaj.