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Quake-damage Alaska airport reopensQuake-damage Alaska airport reopens

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Just three weeks after a magnitude 7.9 earthquake destroyed the runway at Northway Airport in Northway, Alaska, the airport has reopened as a 3,300-foot gravel landing facility.

The 5,100-foot asphalt runway was declared unusable and unrepairable after the quake opened crevasses and caused foot-high heaves all along the runway. But because the airport is a crucial customs entry point for light aircraft flying to Alaska, AOPA Regional Representative Tom George and the Alaska Airmen's Association pressed the state to find a solution.

"The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, as well as the contractor they brought in, are to be commended for their hard work and creative solution," said George. "Neither the community of Northway nor the entire state of Alaska can afford to be without this airport."

Alaska DOT expects to do additional temporary repair work next spring to deal with any uneven settling over the winter. In addition, the state is developing a permanent repair plan in conjunction with the federal government.

Photo: Damage at Northway Airport from the Nov. 3 earthquake.

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