Alaska Earthquake Response
Alaska Earthquake Response
Organizing Data to Bring Federal Funds, Timely Delivery
A massive, 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook the south-central region of Alaska on Nov. 30, 2018, damaging roads and related infrastructure, which included bridges, roadways and several buildings. The state’s Department of Transportation & Public Facilities leaders selected our team in the spring to provide program management for the $70 million response, including oversight, cost estimating, project development and some design.
Of the 266 sites we identified, about 150 of them ended up needing repairs, everything from cracks and sinkholes to global stability issues. And this important work is complicated by Alaska’s May-September construction window. On top of that, there are strict emergency funding requirements from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency. We have been working closely with DOT&PF and about a dozen consulting firms with a goal of completing the majority of permanent repairs in two of those short construction seasons, prioritizing the most critical sites.
Schedule, Federal Reimbursement Challenges
One of the most important parts of our role is to comply with FEMA and FHWA guidelines to ensure that our client receives federal reimbursement. For example, the FHWA’s funding process includes a Damage Detailed Inspection Report, which is employed on a site-by-site basis at each location. The team must inspect the damage, show it was caused by an earthquake, assemble options, estimate the repair costs from design through construction, and then track costs and feed those into the estimates. Tracking tasks incorrectly can lead to loss of federal funding, and the approval process can be complicated.
The team also incorporates a massive repository in the program EQ Tracker, which ties all of the funding together (whether emergency or permanent) and connects the budget and expenditures to the scope of work. The EQ Tracker constitutes the whole book on the Anchorage Earthquake Response. Power BI tells the complete story of the many program facets by tying data in EQ Tracker, financial obligation projections, expenditure data and schedule dates to a visual medium. Power BI also provides hyperlinks to respective contract folder locations with contract records to quickly dive deeper into the data and information.
To coordinate data from all the sites, across all the entities, our team developed a specialized app known as Quake Inspector. This is a one-stop shop for inspectors and allows the team to use the data in many ways that would not be possible with paper reports.