Watch CBS News

CalTrans Explains Quick Road Fix In Alaska After 7.0 Earthquake

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Devastating damage done by an earthquake was cleaned up rather quickly in Alaska, making those in California question the state of their own road repairs.

Last Friday, International Airport Road and Minnesota Road in Anchorage, Alaska were like jagged 3D jigsaw puzzles with cars stranded on detached islands due to a 7.0 earthquake.

The Alaska Department of Transportation, nonetheless, said, "We're trying to do what we can to get the road open. But it will be safe enough to drive on and that's what we're looking for--a safe fix. Our contractors have to start up their hot plans and start up all their equipment that's been put away for the winter."

As soon as Tuesday, only four days after the quake, those roads were smooth and drivable, apart from a ripple of leftover mess from the giant temblor.

According to CalTrans, there are many reasons for the quick recovery, one being an ever-expanding knowledge of post-earthquake civil engineering, courtesy of locations on the 'Ring of Fire' like California and Japan.

"They can take that out to the site and make assessments much more quickly. At the same time, it being an emergency, that opens up channels for emergency funding," said Jeff Weiss of CalTrans.

Also important to a quick recovery is a compacted bidding process on the projects.

"The bidding is smashed down from like months to days, and then they bid on it and they can go like that and work on it. It takes a lot of expertise to do something like that," said Weiss.

There have been cases here in the Bay Area of this happening. On April 29, 2007, a gas tanker fire destroyed part of the MacArthur Maze.

On May 7th, at the cost of $6 million a day, the affected ramps reopened to traffic.

CalTrans told KPIX 5 that they have books of plans already assembled for a quick recovery in preparation for when the next catastrophic earthquake hits the Bay Area.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.