Alaska getting $2 million in federal funds for emergency highway repair

Alaska will receive $2 million in emergency relief funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration to help repair the flood-damaged Dalton Highway, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said Friday.

The funding will be welcome news to the people and businesses around Fairbanks that rely on the impaired highway for transportation.

Dalton Highway was flooded in March when an ice dam formed in the Sag River, causing it to overflow. The road was trapped below several feet of ice until late May when temperatures rose enough for the snow and ice to melt.

"We're working closely with the state to ensure repairs are made immediately because we know communities along this highway are hurt while it is out of commission," Foxx said. "We want to minimize the impact to industries in the area, and get life there back to normal."

The Dalton Highway is a vital link in Alaska’s economy as it is the only road connecting Fairbanks to the North Slope oil fields. On average the road carries approximately 160 to 250 trucks a day depending on the time of year. It may not seem like much, but that’s a sizable amount of the freight that moves through the area.

The $2 million in federal relief will help, but it’s not likely to be enough to repair all of the infrastructure damage. State officials estimate the ruined pavement, embankments, and drainage systems are likely to cost approximately $7 million.

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