AK: Eagle Ice Jam Emergency Response Project

Nominee: Innovative Management – Small Project
Eagle Ice Jam Emergency Response Project
Eagle, AK

“This project is a prime example of successful partnerships in an emergency situation. We worked with state agencies, federal agencies and Alaska Native organizations, under a tight timeline, to gain access to the community of Eagle.”

Leo von Scheben
Alaska Transportation Secretary

In May 2009 a massive ice jam broke free from the Yukon River and decimated the village of Eagle, Alaska. The initial devastation was the result of flood waters with ice chunks the size of trucks. The water and ice destroyed homes, overturned fuel tanks, jumbled up cars, trucks and heavy equipment, and severed power and telephone lines. After the flood waters receded, the immense pieces of ice remained, blocking off Mission Road and cutting off access for residents. The jumble of ice, homes, vehicles, power and telephone lines were all contaminated with fuel, oil and other hazardous materials.

The challenge for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) was to establish a safe route for vehicles to access the communities located beyond the ice jam. After this temporary emergency route was established, the next goal was to remove the ice and debris from Mission Road and complete permanent repairs.

Alaska DOT&PF’s response to this emergency situation required coordination with multiple federal and state agencies, Alaska Native organizations, emergency responders, multiple land owners, and community members. Alaska DOT&PF was successful due to the implementation of a systematic method of communication, modeled after the Incident Command System. The communication involved scheduled daily briefings and status reports to all impacted and involved parties.

Throughout the entire situation, the focus remained on safety, environmental stewardship, traffic management, and communication, with the goal of gaining access for Eagle residents.

AK: Eagle Ice Jam Emergency Response Project

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