U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announces the immediate availability of $2 million in Emergency Relief funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to help the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities pay for repairs to the Dalton Highway damaged by recent floods.
"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," says Secretary Foxx. "We want to minimize the impact to industries in the area, and get life there back to normal."
The Dalton Highway is the only road connecting Fairbanks to the North Slope oil fields. Despite its remoteness, the highway carries a significant amount of truck traffic for the region – about 160 to 250 trucks each day depending on the time of year. The highway is important for freight movement and for the tourism industry since it is situated within a few miles of the Arctic Ocean.
"The Dalton Highway is important to transport freight, and Alaska's economy relies on this vital link," says Acting Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "These emergency relief funds will help restore the road, and protect the state's economy."
The flooding began in March when an ice dam caused the Sag River to overflow, closing the highway. The route remained under several feet of ice until temperatures rose earlier this month allowing the snow and ice to melt.
Emergency Relief funds will help pay to repair numerous types of infrastructure damage, including damage to pavements, embankments, and drainage systems. State officials estimate the total damage will cost $7 million.
Funds from the FHWA's Emergency Relief Program will reimburse the state for emergency work done in the immediate aftermath of the weather event. FHWA's Emergency Relief program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of federal-aid roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.