Anchorage EOC demobilized as most Muni offices prepare to open

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Anchorage’s Emergency Operations Center was demobilized Monday evening after Friday’s earthquake. City officials say that the vast majority of municipal offices will be open Tuesday.

State officials lowered Anchorage’s threat level Monday morning from "Alert" to "Advisory" as the danger to life and property is said to have decreased since Friday.

Many municipal departments were closed Monday as staff were told to come to work to clean up and help with the recovery.

Some critical municipal departments were open and operational Monday including the Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility. Brett Jokela, the general manager at AWWU, said facilities were “in surprisingly good shape after the earthquake.”

The department had been busy over the weekend responding to around 30 calls for mainline breaks. Anchorage Municipal Manager Bill Falsey said Saturday that the majority of those calls turned out to be false alarms.

By Monday morning, Jokela said that “everyone in the city is in water,” apart from areas where active excavations were taking place. AWUU offices on Arctic Boulevard were also open as people lined up to pay their bills.

Off the Old Seward Highway, a steady stream of people drove into the Central Transfer Station to take advantage of “Free Dump Days.”

Dennis Nelson, an Anchorage resident, came in a pickup truck loaded with garbage bags that were filled with everything that fell off his walls during the earthquake. Another Anchorage resident, Charles Taufa, came in a pickup truck carrying furniture and bags full of household items. He said he needed to make a second trip.

City officials announced Sunday afternoon that residential waste could be dropped off free of charge to the Central Transfer Station and the Anchorage Regional Landfill until Dec. 8.

Falsey asked that people only use the opportunity to drop off waste coming from the earthquake. Officials are also asking that drivers stay off the Glenn Highway when going to the Anchorage Regional Landfill.

Lindsey Hobson, a spokesperson for Enstar, said as of Monday morning, crews had checked off all pending calls for potential gas leaks. Saturday morning, crews were responding to around 700 calls across the Enstar service area that stretches from Houston down to Homer.

At the Egan Convention Center, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce gathered for their weekly forum. The topic Monday: The Chugach Electric Association merger with Municipal Light and Power.

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz attended the event saying that, “it’s amazing how quickly we’ve been able to make the repairs that have been made.” City services are close to a full recovery with roads, especially the Glenn Highway, being the big sticking point, Berkowitz said.

The Anchorage Mayor described that it looked like the Glenn Highway would be functioning at 100 percent within the next two to three days but he didn’t want to promise anything.

The Briggs Bridge in Eagle River will likely take more time to reopen. Jokela said that was due to a water main break that may have imperiled the bridge’s foundations.

Department of Transportation spokesperson, Shannon McCarthy, said there would likely be a weeklong closure of the bridge, which would lead to detours in Eagle River.

Also in attendance at the weekly Make it Monday Forum, the Anchorage Municipal Attorney, Becky Windt Pearson who described that municipal cases did not appear to be interrupted by Friday’s earthquake.

Down the road on 4th Avenue, the Anchorage Police Department continued moving into its new facility. MJ Thim, a spokesperson for APD, said that the department’s move had been pushed back to March after being scheduled to being complete by mid-January.

Thim said that delay was not due to the earthquake.

On 7th Avenue, a preliminary evaluation of the structural integrity of the Historic Federal Building and Fitzgerald Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse had been completed.

Officials say that the “Fitzgerald Federal Building will be closed to the general public Tuesday for cleanup.

Generally, staff are not allowed into the buildings and the federal buildings will remain closed until further notice. Agencies are also scheduled to be closed Wednesday in honor of President George H.W. Bush.



 
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