Governor Parnell Inspects Taylor Highway, Listens to Community Concerns in Eagle
July 16, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell flew over the Taylor Highway yesterday with Public Safety Commissioner Joseph Masters and Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Katkus to observe the damage done during the record rainfall early this week. The group landed in the community of Eagle, at the end of the highway, to hear about community needs and assure local residents that critical supplies will be delivered before winter.
"I want to make sure Alaskans are safe and that state agencies are well-coordinated in our response," Governor Parnell said. "We're making sure area residents have the tools to provide for themselves and their community until the road construction is complete."
The Alaska State Troopers continue to monitor the Taylor Highway by aircraft as part of the ongoing search-and-rescue effort. Stranded motorists have been moved to safe locations.
"We've been searching the surrounding areas for people reported missing, and we're in regular communication with Village Public Safety Officers to ensure the public's safety during this time of isolation," Commissioner Masters said. "We're providing the necessary support while neighbors help each other."
Governor Parnell directed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to remain in close contact with community leaders and to draft a detailed report to present to the Disaster Policy Cabinet for a potential state disaster declaration.
The division's report will include costs to state infrastructure as estimated by the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, as well as any damage to municipal infrastructure that was reported to the State Emergency Coordination Center. The Disaster Policy Cabinet is scheduled to make a recommendation to Governor Parnell next week.
"Our relationship with the community of Eagle is extremely strong after last year's spring flood, and we'll make sure any isolated community gets the assistance they need to help provide basic life and safety needs for their residents," said Maj. Gen. Katkus, commissioner of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
The state Department of Transportation has begun road repairs, but has advised that it could take several weeks to reopen the Taylor Highway.