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

Nome-Council Highway storm damage
An aerial view of the Nome Council Highway and Safety Sound, several days after the remnants of Typhoon Merbok hit Western Alaska. (From Shea Oliver/Alaska DOTPF)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration is providing $9 million to help cover damages in Western Alaska from last month’s historic storm. The administration released the emergency relief funds on Oct. 6.

Right now, Western Alaskans are in the midst of restoring roads, repairing subsistence camps and homes and taking steps 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,” said Acting Federal Highway Administrator Stephanie Pollack.

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

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Davis Hovey is a news reporter at KNOM - Nome. Hovey was born and raised in Virginia. He spent most of his childhood in Greene County 20 minutes outside of Charlottesville where University of Virginia is located. Hovis was drawn in by the opportunity to work for a radio station in a remote, unique place like Nome Alaska. Hovis went to Syracuse University, where he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Broadcast Digital Journalism.