Don Young Port of Alaska in Anchorage
Don Young Port of Alaska in Anchorage

Risking Stability

Published: January 30, 2018

AGC of Alaska
By Rindi White

Piles under Port of Alaska in need of serious repair, officials say

Below the waterline at the main port in Anchorage, a “slow-motion disaster” is taking place. The port, renamed the Port of Alaska in October to reflect the intermodal transport hub’s importance to the statewide economy, is on an irreversible path toward crippling corrosion, one that officials say will shut down the port in about 10 years if not addressed.

Temporary measures are being used to slow the damage, but port officials say that without a $700-plus-million modernization project, those temporary efforts will not materially extend the port’s lifespan.

There are 1,423 piles supporting the Port of Alaska. When installed, the piles were typically 24 inches in diameter and averaged 7/16-inch thick. The newest sections of the dock are more than 40 years old; most areas were built 50 or more years ago. The piles have lost up to three-quarters of their original thickness and likely will not withstand another significant earthquake, Port of Anchorage officials stated in an Oct. 20 presentation.

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