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Western Alaska receives millions to repair roads and storm-damaged communities

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is providing $9 million to pay for needed repairs in Western Alaska. FHWA released the emergency relief funds on Oct. 6 to help cover the cost of damages incurred by the remnants of Typhoon Merbok.

Western Alaskans are in the midst of restoring roads, repairing subsistence camps and homes, and whatever they can to protect their communities from more fall storms. In some communities, they were left without berms in place, or new breaches of the coastline by the Bering Sea that make them more susceptible to further storms.

“The quick release funding we are providing will help get those repairs done as soon as possible and better prepare this area for future storms and floods,” Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack said.

The cost to repair the storm damages could exceed $15 million, according to the Alaska Department of Transportation’s (DOT) recent assessment.

Contractors are currently working to repair the breach on the road near Safety Sound outside of Nome. While that’s going on, barges and construction equipment were sent to Golovin, Elim and Shaktoolik to repair their roads as well, DOT said.

In a press release, the Federal Highway Administration called the several million dollars going to Western Alaska an “initial installment” of emergency relief funding.

Image at top: An aerial view of the Nome Council Highway and Safety Sound several days after the remnants of Typhoon Merbok hit Western Alaska. Photo from Shea Oliver with Alaska DOT&PF, shared publicly.

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