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Governor Parnell Declares State Disaster on Taylor Highway

July 26, 2010, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell declared a state disaster for the flooding earlier this month that damaged sections of the Taylor Highway linking Eagle, Chicken and Boundary in the eastern Interior. The state will fund or will seek federal funding for emergency response costs, infrastructure restoration and long-term measures to prevent a recurrence of the landslide and road erosion damages resulting from the flooding. 

Beginning on July 10, heavy rainfall on the Upper Tanana and YukonRiver Basin caused landslides, erosion and drainage damage, and washed out sections of the road.

“My top priority is safety,” Governor Parnell said. “Thankfully there appear to be no life-threatening conditions remaining from the extreme weather that washed out the highway, but I have directed state agencies to maintain regular contact with all of the affected communities, so we can provide immediate assistance if any is needed.”

Although the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) reestablished emergency access to the highway, damage continues from heavy rainfall.

“Restoring this important emergency and economic transportation corridor is essential to the people who live and travel in the area,” said Governor Parnell. “In addition to this disaster declaration, I have instructed the Department of Transportation to tap any resources necessary to reestablish safe access as quickly as possible.”

DOT&PF requested a state disaster declaration in order to access Federal Highway Administration Emergency Relief funding for permanent repairs to the damaged roads, which the department hopes to complete before winter. The declaration also enables DOT&PF to seek reimbursement for expenses incurred conducting emergency protective measures on roadways and other critical infrastructure.

The declaration suspends the normal state environmental permit process that likely would impede or substantially delay the urgent emergency repairs to restore the roads to a pre-disaster condition.

DOT&PF estimates the damages done to the Taylor Highway at more than $6 million.

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