Spared by earthquake, Port of Alaska still needs rehab

Built in the 1960s, the Port of Alaska in Anchorage needs more than $1 billion to replace old docks and remove what it says was earlier botched construction work. The port was spared from serious damage by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that rocked the south central part of the state on Nov. 30, but it says more than $1 billion of work may be needed if the port is to remain viable beyond the next decade.

Located on Cook Inlet in south central Alaska, the port is a key piece of infrastructure for the state. Anchorage is the state’s largest city and 60 percent of the state’s population lives within two hours of the port; 75 percent of residents are connected to the port by either road or the state-owned Alaska Railroad.

Its centrality is reflected in the fact that the name of the municipally owned port was changed from Port of Anchorage to Port of Alaska in 2017.

Today the Port of Alaska is the largest gateway for general cargo in the state. It became so when other ports, including Seward, Kodiak, Valdez and Whittier, all suffered massive damage from tsunamis after the 7.2 magnitude “Good Friday” earthquake of March 27, 1964.

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