The Government of Yukon announced that following the Memorandum of Understanding signed in February with the State Alaska, much-needed upgrades on the north Alaska Highway will begin in 2025 and continue until the end of the project in 2027.

Construction and upgrades will be funded by a US$31.125-million (approximately CA$42.6 million) investment by the Government of Alaska through the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). This funding will help to ensure safe and efficient travel for Yukoners and Alaskans along this critical northern route.

“This partnership showcases the importance of working in collaboration towards a shared goal for northerners. The north Alaska highway is a vital component of our collective regional infrastructure. I know this funding commitment will ensure we can maintain the highway in optimal and safe condition for Yukoners, Alaskans and visitors. Maintaining this corridor bolsters security, facilitates trade, promotes tourism, and supports essential aspects of daily life in the North,” said Yukon Premier Ranj Pillai.

The highway serves as the primary land link between southeast Alaska and the rest of the United States and connects many rural communities in the Yukon including Haines Junction, Destruction Bay, Burwash Landing and Beaver Creek. This roadway also links the traditional territories of the Champagne and Aishihik, Kluane, and White River First Nations.

“This is a significant milestone for Alaska as we advance our partnership with the Yukon. This success in the STIP application underscores the importance of maintaining a safe and efficient passage for all visitors to the North, and we look forward to an exciting construction season ahead,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy.

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On February 9 of this year, the Yukon’s Premier Ranj Pillai and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy signed a Memorandum of Understanding. This agreement commits Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Yukon’s Department of Highways and Public Works to work together to restore sections of the Alaska Highway in the Yukon.

The project will target a portion of the north Alaska highway, spanning approximately 222.5 kilometers from Destruction Bay to the Canada/US border. This section faces a range of road maintenance and safety challenges due to thawing permafrost. Restoration efforts will involve resurfacing, repairing the road underneath the surface and culverts. It will also include improvement to the drainage to make sure the road can be used safely at its intended speed.

“I extend my gratitude to Alaska for its contribution to restoring part of the north Alaska highway with its Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. The funding allocated under this program will help mitigate the effects of thawing permafrost on this essential roadway. This contribution showcases both our governments’ recognition of the importance of this road link, as well as our commitment to keep the north Alaska highway safe for all road travellers,” said Minister of Highways and Public Works Nils Clarke.

Featured image: Nils Clarke, Minister of Highways and Public Works announces the new joint funding initiative alongside Premier Ranj Pillai on Tuesday April 23, 2024 at the Grader Station in Whitehorse. (Government of Yukon)

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