ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Story updated with afternoon press conference information:
The message from the Municipality of Anchorage Sunday morning was much the same as Saturday’s: Stay home if you can to avoid putting pressure on the city’s damaged road infrastructure. With that though, Mayor Ethan Berkowitz says Monday will be a day closer to a normal sort of day.
Just minutes before the morning briefing, the Anchorage Assembly voted unanimously to extend the civil disaster declaration to Tuesday evening at 10 p.m.
The Department of Transportation gave a more comprehensive update of road closures Sunday afternoon, ahead of Monday’s commute for those who still must come to work, but a running list of roads affected by closures are:
Eagle River Loop – The Briggs Bridge over Eagle River will have closures due to a water line fix. Falsey said those should be expected for a long time.
Inbound at Eklutna – Right lane closed
Inbound Mirror Lake to Peters Creek – Inbound traffic is being diverted to the outbound lanes
Outbound – Scales to South Eagle River – Left lane is closed due to a slope failure.
Outbound Eagle River Bridge – DOT expects that all lanes will be open on the Eagle River bridges by Monday morning.
Seward Highway – Avoid the Southbound Seward Highway if at all possible. It is still open but there is still potential for rock slides during aftershocks.
Minnesota and International Southbound ramps – Closed due to slope failures
Minnesota Southbound at Dimond – Right lane closed for repairs
Dowling Rd. Elmore to Lake Otis – Westbound Traffic closed due to a sinkhole.
3rd Ave. and Post Rd. - Closed due to water break
Here’s DOT’s full list.
Falsey said that roads and water will likely prove the infrastructure areas that take the longest to repair and recover.
Most state employees across Southcentral are being given Monday off work, however, most city employees are expected to turn up to work.
Officials say if you work for the city and live in the Anchorage Bowl, Monday is a work day.
However if you work for the City of Anchorage but live in the Valley or use the Glenn Highway to get to work, officials say to stay at home. There are some exceptions for certain employees from the following departments:
- Anchorage Transit Department/People Mover
- DHHS WIC Offices (excluding WIC JBER) & Public Health Clinic
- Building Safety
- Merrill Field
- The Port of Alaska
- Assembly Conference Room #155, City Hall (for noticed work sessions)
As for city facilities and offices, Falsey said the Municipality of Anchorage offices will all be closed Monday with the exception of the departments listed above.
Falsey said a lot of departments will need to be cleaned up after the earthquake.
The boil water restrictions for the Anchorage area have been lifted.
The sewer system is functioning properly. Falsey said that a plug found in the sewer system that was thought to be caused by a pipe failure looks to have instead been caused by a manhole collapse in Turnagain.
Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility has visually inspected all of its visible lines, Falsey said.
Port of Alaska:
There has been some damage at the Port of Alaska but cargo is still arriving as normal. Officials say there is no need to hoard groceries and supplies.
Officials also say that Anchorage currently has three weeks worth of gasoline stored and there is no reason to suspect shipments won't continue as per usual.
As of Sunday morning Enstar had 293 unresolved calls, Falsey said. They range from people who’ve shut off their own gas to people who smell gas. The utility has brought in additional help from out of state. At one point on Saturday, the call load was at 700.
The Fairview Rec Center has become the city’s shelter. Fifteen people stayed at the shelter Saturday night, and Falsey said due to building utility issues, Karluk Manor’s residents will be sheltering there tonight through at least Wednesday.
The Anchorage School District gave a comprehensive update on the status of schools Sunday afternoon. School is canceled until Monday, Dec. 10.
Camp Fire Alaska is working to secure space to provide emergency child care for current Camp Fire families, possibly as early as Wednesday.
Parents needing childcare should contact their provider first to find out if they are open. Next, thread, an organization that helps access childcare, is open at 9 a.m. and can help find childcare at 907-265-3100
Both the Central Transfer Station and the regional landfill are open and operating, but Falsey asked people to not take their loads there today in order to keep them open for emergency response. He said there would be "free dump days" until Dec. 8 for residential waste.
Falsey asked that people going to Anchorage Regional Landfill to wait if possible as the trip typically takes drivers onto the Glenn Highway.
Shortly before Sunday morning's press conference, the Anchorage Assembly voted unanimously to extend the declaration of civil emergency through Tuesday evening at 10 p.m.
That declaration allows the Mayor to do a number of things, including:
Impose a curfew
Order evacuations in any part of the city
Close liquor establishments
Suspend Title 1 if Emergency Housing is needed
Activate the Emergency Operations Plan and Emergency Operations Center
Call on the state and federal government for emergency funding
Call people into work that normally would not be required to work under their contracts.
Allow the Anchorage Fire or Police chiefs to evacuate areas if needed.
After the morning briefing, Mayor Berkowitz said he would not predict whether the civil emergency declaration would be extended past Tuesday.
Chair of the Anchorage Assembly, Forrest Dunbar, said the Mayor had been speaking to the Alaska Congressional delegation about receiving money from the feds through the state to reimburse Anchorage for the costs of recovery.
"We're hopeful this won't have a long term financial impact on the city," said Dunbar. "It might have some but at least for the emergency services we're hoping to get reimbursed."
The Anchorage Assembly is scheduled to have a regular meeting Tuesday evening at the Loussac Library where they will discuss whether to extend the civil emergency declaration.
Anchorage Fire Department Chief Jodi Hettrick says that after the earthquake and two days of aftershocks "now is the time for self-care."
Aetna Behavioral Health is offering a mental health specialist to help with people after the earthquake.
A winter weather advisory remains in effect for Anchorage but the snow totals predicted for the city have been reduced.
On Saturday afternoon there was a prediction of 4-8 inches of snow falling in Anchorage and on the Hillside on Sunday through Monday. Sunday morning that forecast has dropped down to 3-6 inches for the same time period in the Anchorage Bowl and on the Hillside.
Municipal snow management should occur as usual, said Falsey.
Long term recovery and clean-up:
"I don't want to over promise and under deliver, so I'm not going to give you an estimate when we'll be at 100 percent operations," Falsey said. "But I will say, we are operating now at a level we can manage, the systems are fully functioning right now."
The city manager described that there are a few mainline breaks and outages because "the system is gigantic and has been in the ground for decades."
As the week progresses, Falsey says that "we will be able to say that we are largely through it."