Some good news


The port after the quake. Additional photos below/Jim Jager photo

The Port of Anchorage – the major entry point for the vast majority of all goods into the state of Alaska – appears to have come through Friday’s 7.0 earthquake in good shape.

Port spokesman Jim Jager said the port is temporarily shut down for a safety inspection, but there appears no significant structural damage.

A tanker tied up at the docks when the quake hit off loading fuel, but manage to safely shut down the fuel transfer. None was spilled, Jager said.

But he did report damage to the north of the port in an area of trouble–plagued port expansion.

A bottomless crack has opened there he said. Engineers had warned of soil instability.

Port offices, like many offices in Anchorage, did take a beating, he added, with wall hangings coming down and comptuer monitors falling off desks.


Minor damage to dock surfaces, but no structural damage reported/Jim Jager photo


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North of the port where there have been tangled plans for expansion and engineers warnings of unstable soils/Jim Jager photo

CORRECTION: An early version of this story reported erroneously reported the tanker broke some of its mooring lines.

Categories: News

37 replies »

  1. Bill et al., might want to brush up on history just a bit, one of the original routes for CRR was through Marshall pass.Hat tip to ”
    Copper Spike,lone e jansen”,read that when I was a kid going to high school in Valdez.
    Doesn’t matter, either Bridge or RR would cost Bajillions.And you know how AK republicans are about spending our own $’s for real long term solutions.

    Dave Mc

    • What is CRR, Dave? Are you saying it had already been done?
      I think latest numbers for Knik Arm bridge is $1.5 billion.

      • Bill,
        CRR may be the Copper River Railroad (another bridge to no where) but once the Kenicott mine was done, so too was the central bankers investments in that AK project.
        AK’s biggest Problem in the 21 century will be getting bankers like Rubenstein to “divest” PF assests from dictator regimes like Saudi and China to modernize AK infrastructure.
        Don’t take my word about it…Alaskans should look into PF assests themselves and see how the majority of our state’s wealth goes to nations like Saudi and China, so they may “grow” as we suffer….even when they (Saudi Gov) chop up journalists in their Turkey embassy.
        What does our elected government actually “Manage” these days?

      • Dave is speaking of something he read in a book but is a bit vague, Steve. The CR NW railroad went to Cordova from Kennecott mine and Wally Hickel attempted to resurrect a road out of Cordova to Interior using that right-of-way.
        While Dave may be on to something about one way of getting copper ore to Valdez over Marshall Pass, I see no serious attempt at it. Anything is possible, of course, but rail doesn’t like grades involved in that route IMO.

  2. Well Jack, this is pretty funny:” Maybe the fine folks of Anchorage will realize that there may be some merit to the Point Mackinzie Bridge after all.”

    Um, do you know how far away that fantasy bridge was from the epicenter? Hell, lets build six roads to what I call hell – the cesspool valley – home of what makes Alaska suck so bad. My apology to Kenai/Soldotna.

    • Monk – I’m not saying that PM is where it needs to happen. I’m just saying that an alternate route from Anchorage to AK needs to happen. Or we can all just wait until Anchorage is completely hosed… again. One thing that history teaches us is that it takes monumental occurrences to make major changes. Hello Anchorage – here’s your warning. If we can’t handle a 7.0 without crazy damage and disruptions to our state’s infrastructure, how are we going to handle a 9.? WHEN it happens? Another alternative is for an additional port town (I can only think of Valdez, but who knows) to build up their port to handle more cargo for the state. It’s called diversification – it’s how you invest for the future.


      • We do have a couple of ports (Seward and Whittier) with access to ARR but they both just go through Anchorage, Jack.
        What are your thoughts on additional rail access? For some reason Steve doesn’t think high-speed rail is an answer.

      • Hey Bill,
        I’m not sure – I do think that rail should be a big part of whatever solution we come up with, however, like you said, the rail system goes through Anchorage. I really think that we need to move some of that port / rail infrastructure to the East or West of Anchorage (I think it would be much more viable to the East since there is already a small port town there, but whatever). In my mind (and I’m not a logistics guy at all), I could see an expansion of the Valdez port with a rail line to move containers to maybe Glenn Allen where they could either be trucked or continue by rail to their final destination. Obviously, this would involve significant rail and port expansions, however, I currently think that this would be the most cost effective way to diversify our shipping infrastructure. Not that this is all we should do – if you look back at ’64, Anchorage and Valdez AND Seward were trashed. We need to come up with a way to move supplies around this state if our major ports are cut off and right now, we don’t have one. I know that we have a beautiful, wild state, however, we just might need to think about running some rail lines through some of it to prevent us from having to airlift supplies or drive supplies down the AlCan. Obviously, this will take greater minds than mine (not hard to find) and greater revenues than most Alaskans are willing to spring for… So… it’s most likely back to prepare yourself as best as possible and be ready to help out your friends and neighbors. Oh yeah, Anchorage will be stuck on an island going Lord of the Flies on itself unless we get alternative ways of getting in and out of there besides a 4 lane and a 2 lane highway – for shits sake, there’s not even a frontage road on either highway that you could take if necessary. How about we start there and see what happens?
        Sorry about the rant Bill. I’m going to move some snow.

      • Boy I don’t know about getting a RR over Thompson Pass, Jack!
        There has been talk, in the past, about connecting up with Canadian Rail that would be plenty expensive but doable. Not sure rail over Thompson Pass is doable. However there is that smaller scale rail from Skagway over White Pass.

      • The Kinik Bridge Project should move foward for several reasons.
        The area out KGB road in Wasilla is really busy, tons of bad accidents on KGB due to commuters racing an old route to and from Anc.
        Also there is not much land left in the Anc Bowl for new houses (just look at Eagle River hillside).
        Putting up the new bridge would stimulate land development toward the bush and allow L.E. a better route from prision to federal court houses and airport.
        The area is also very rich in natural gas reserves and could also help support the Port Mackenzie project as climate change makes that area ice free most of the year.
        If incorporated, I believe the community would be the second largest in the Mat Su Borough right under Wasilla.
        So, not giving that area better access to Anc and southern routes only hurts our borough’s local economy.
        It would also give “commerce” a new route into the Interior.
        I would even venture to say that if Port Mackenzie was fully developed that we could see LNG shipped to Asian markets from that location.
        The challenge is always the same in AK…
        Try to get the budget money back from politicians who are backed by “The big 3” oil producers who want Parnell to waste more oil revenue on the gasline to nowhere.

      • Where did you want to get the money for such, Steve??
        Frankly I’m not seeing any big push for more housing in Anchorage or any push for more local valley economy. Build it and they will come, I guess huh?

      • Bill,
        Maybe we could free up a billion from PF and divest in Saudi Arabia since Congress right now is trying to block investments in Saudi and stop arms sales to them after the incident in Turkey?
        “A bipartisan group of senators is releasing legislation imposing sanctions, prohibitions and restrictions against Saudi Arabia and other entities considered responsible for the humanitarian suffering in war-torn Yemen, the most punitive proposals to emerge from Congress since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered last month.”
        Saudi Arabia is currently at the top of countries who benifit from our capital in PF?
        As for Knik, there is already over 14,000 people living in that area and many of them travel to Anchorage daily…hence they would pay tolls on new bridge.

      • I believe the PF is charged with making earnings and they are careful about their investing in-state, for obvious reasons. And about that 14000 people living in Knik and traveling to Los Anchorage daily-how many are children? The toll thing won’t work as there are just not enough folks to pay it. And that was with inflated numbers of travelers, too.
        That said, should the choice be made for bridge, how close to that fault do you think it should be? And what level of earthquake should it be built to withstand?

  3. Trump Tweeted:
    “To the Great people of Alaska. You have been hit hard by a “big one.” Please follow the directions of the highly trained professionals who are there to help you. Your Federal Government will spare no expense. God Bless you ALL!”
    Where is the Federal Government getting all this money to help?
    Maybe Trump should stop building his Mexican wall and realize our country is in a deficit spiral?
    Where will the billions come from for the Paradise fire disaster in Cali?
    Cali is already in a deficit to federal government?
    Trump wants to take away AK’s only planned icebreaker for more wall on the Mexican boarder, yet he tweets to every disaster (and our country seems to be in Disaster Capitalism mode these days) that there is unlimited funds available going forward??..
    The truth is U.S. debt is out of control to China these days and Chinese Government is buying up private land in the wake of disasters in Texas and California.
    Lots of it.
    Does Trump mean, do not worry, we will sell off our land and debt to China and Americans will have an Asian Landlord for Slavery going forward?
    Maybe someone should ask the POTUS if he believes there is a connection between fracking and earthquakes, cause many scientists do and the Cook Inlet gets “Fracked” a bunch.
    No coincidence my friends.
    Stay safe and warm tonight.

      • Bryan,
        Many states saturated with O &G fracking sites have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of earthquakes.
        If you lived in AK, you may be more concerned.

        “Soon after wastewater injection began in July 2010, scientists started to detect seismic activity in the surrounding region, which led to a series of felt earthquakes. When a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struckon 27 February 2011, the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission issued an emergency order to stop all wastewater injection.”

      • Steve, fracking generally happens between 8,000-10,000 feet. Most earthquakes occur along the edge of the oceanic and continental plates. The earth’s crust (the outer layer of the planet) is made up of several pieces, called plates. The plates under the oceans are called oceanic plates and the rest are continental plates. The plates are moved around by the motion of a deeper part of the earth (the mantle) that lies underneath the crust. These plates are always bumping into each other, pulling away from each other, or past each other. The plates usually move at about the same speed that your fingernails grow. Earthquakes usually occur where two plates are running into each other or sliding past each other. See, no mention of fracking.

    • Steve, are you seriously saying that this earthquake was caused by fracking?… You know that we live on the ring of fire, right? Lots of earthquakes all the time. Volcano’s, tsunami’s, brown bears, oh my…. Adjust the left antenna to the right just a bit my man.

      Keep it real man!

      • Jack,
        At least there should be some discussion of fracking potentially causing earthquakes in AK….especially near fault lines like the Cook Inlet.
        We have more earthquakes in 10 days then we would have in a full month up here?
        Why such a huge increase in earthquakes?
        “The research doesn’t prove that all fracking causes earthquakes, but it does suggest that fracking occurring near fault lines has the potential to cause them. The BSSA noted that the 77 Ohio quakes occurred along one fault line within .06 miles of the well sites, and that fracking occurring at other nearby wells not near that fault line produced no seismicity.”
        This is from the article I listed above.
        Here is a link questioning why so many increases in the amounts of quakes.

      • Steve, for all we know that fracking could be cause for releasing some of the pressure build-up, from those plates coming together, and making the occasional “big one” somewhat less big.
        All I can say is that had this one been much larger, we would be having a real problem.
        We know we have the potential for another 8-9 quake and have been building accordingly-I remember being on third floor @ old Fort Richardson in 68 and felt what I thought would be enough to cause pipes to break and there was no damage. That said, there is no way I’m going to be caught on a bridge crossing Knik Arm.

  4. I just observed a red squirrel stealing from me fiberglass insulation from my underfloor. I will let my buddy Marten take care of this problem. But tomorrow I will investigate its access point through the skirting and block it.

      • Going to have to deal with Squirrel issue sooner rather than later. Ill put some big stones on top the hole as a temporary fix. Then I will call for peace talks. I will offer him/her an alternative roll of fiberglass until Marten gets here.

    • That you find a squirrel entertaining is just perfect. She/he hopefully returned your laser focus in kind.

  5. So what is left of the PND binwall that caused the failure of the Sheffield Port project? How did it do in this quake?

    • Too bad the Mat Su borough botched the free ferry from the gov…it would have been a good asset in times of natural disasters since there is only 1 road in AK from the port of Anc up to the Valley and Interior….if the Knik Bridge falls down, there is not much of a “plan B” for when “da shit” hits the fan?

      • That ferry wasn’t free, Steve. And probably why it was given away as it cost too much to store and maintain. Wasn’t any appetite for terminals on either side for such a pig, either.
        I suspect there could be a ferry design that would work in that area but only during nice weather as an ocean going variety is too expensive IMO. That’s the main reason the Juneau Access project is so expensive as ferries crossing Lynn Canal to West side (where few avalanche areas) need to be able to handle winter weather there.

      • Hey Steve,
        Pretty sure that any ferry from Anchorage would do about squat in this situation. Maybe the fine folks of Anchorage will realize that there may be some merit to the Point Mackinzie Bridge after all. Believe it or not, it’s smart to have more than 1 way in and out of your wonderful utopia that I call hell.
        I’m happy that it appears that there were no deaths or serious injuries. This is a fine warning on what a big earthquake can do. I’m not saying that this was all that big, but it still f’d things up pretty good and we should PREPARE for an actual big earthquake by building up our infrastructure to appropriate levels or at least build up some ports that can back up the rest of the state… Valdez anyone?

      • I agree that the ferry had costs, but keeping it in Ketchikan and paying a captain in S.C. a $100K a year to “not captain” it did not make sense.
        He could not even keep rain water out of exhaust pipes on a moored ship?
        As for Jack’s comment on the knik arm bridge, I fully agree.
        The valley and northbound have grown too much for one road in and out of town….and a high speed rail line is not the answer (think tractor trailer supply chain).
        As for anyone who thinks the Valley is Hell, well I am from the “Palin School” of thought that the Valley is the greatest place on earth.
        At least when there is salmon runs in our back yards…and the rivers freeze in winter?
        I am reminded of a Paradise Lost quote:
        “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

      • Steve, Maybe grasp the math. When 20,000 people commute from the Valley, a ferry that transits 18 cars an hour is hardy a “Plan B”.

      • James,
        You are missing the point.
        There is “two weeks” food supply in the Valley at any given point.
        The ferry would have been able to transport food and supplies in a disaster.
        Wait till you see the truck traffic backed up in Anc. detour this week and then tell me what you think.

      • Steve, for the costs associated with that ferry it would be cheaper to fly the food and supplies. That ferry was an unusual extreme that didn’t pencil out for anyone/anything-nobody wanted such an albatross.
        Now, it’s entirely possible that a ferry could be designed to fulfill a need (whatever that is) but it will not be cheap IMO.

      • I definitely don’t know what the solution is to diversify AK’s infrastructure to the island of Anchorage, however, I do know that our state has a large enough population of people to warrant a large scale project to ensure a reliable back up to the Port of Anchorage. Planes, trains, automobiles… we definitely need another way to and from the port than just a 4 lane highway. If I worked in Anchorage, I would feel more comfortable knowing that there was a light rail system, another bridge, another highway, etc. As it is now, this minor major earthquake is going to be a pain in my ass – just like it is for everyone else. Just think how bad it would be if it was a 9.? earthquake? What would you do? Hunker down and wait to be rescued? Good luck with that one kids. Right now, I’d put my $ on the folks in Anchorage going Lord of the Flies on each other…

        Something to think about.

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