Highways and Public Works

Visitor Highway Information

The Alaska Highway (Northwest Highway System)

The 2,647 kilometre (1,645 mile) Northwest Highway System, popularly referred to as the Alaska Highway, runs from Dawson Creek, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska, and also includes the Haines Road. The original road was built in a mere nine months in 1942 as a wartime measure by the United States Army.

After World War II, the Government of Canada took over the Canadian portion of the highway. More recently, responsibility for the Yukon portion of the highway has been transferred to the Government of Yukon.

Operating the highway includes the maintenance of paved and hard surfaces, dust control, grading of unpaved sections and snow removal. Reconstruction involves rebuilding or relocating inferior sections of the original road.

This is undertaken in those areas most heavily travelled and susceptible to the effects of poor soil and drainage conditions, or those that have difficult alignments, such as tight curves and steep grades.

There is much to see and enjoy on the Alaska Highway, including fishing, camping, hiking, boating, and gold panning. Relax at a comfortable lodge, soak in a hot spring or visit a wilderness park.

Viewpoints offer magnificent opportunities for photographing the spectacular scenery and wildlife.

The Shakwak Project

Although responsibility for the Alaska Highway and Haines Road was taken over by Canada after World War II, the United States Government is still interested in the Haines Road and the north end of the Alaska Highway because these roads provide a link from tidewater at Haines, Alaska to the Alaskan Interior.

In fact, American travellers make up 80% to 85% of the people using this route.

Discussions between Canada and the U.S. about upgrading the Canadian section started in 1955, and an agreement was finally signed in early 1977. The U.S. would provide the money for upgrading and Canada would provide the right-of-way and maintenance.

The Yukon government is responsible for managing the site work on this project. Much of the highway runs through a valley called the Shakwak Trench so this international undertaking was named the Shakwak Highway Reconstruction Project.

The Shakwak Project covers 520 kilometres (325 miles); 80 kilometres (or 50 miles) are located in northwestern British Columbia and the rest is in the Yukon Territory. The road has been reconstructed to a 100 km/hr standard.

The Haines Road that is in Canada, and 214 kilometres (134 miles) of the Alaska Highway between Haines Junction and the Canada-U.S. border north of Beaver Creek are already completed. Several contracts are now underway covering about 58 kilometres or 36 miles.



Experiencing the Yukon

You will be able to judge for yourself the improvements this project has made by comparing the completed portions to those areas not yet reconstructed.

Reconstruction and maintenance on this northern portion of the Shakwak Project are much more difficult than in more southerly areas because of the presence of permafrost.

Permafrost areas are subject to continuous thawing and heaving as ice within the underlying soil either melts or builds up. The disturbance caused by construction work can accelerate these changes.

To make matters worse, the construction season is short so work must be concentrated during the long daylight hours of the summer, which creates more extensive disturbance to the soil and a higher inconvenience for travellers.

We apologize for any inconvenience, but now that you know what is going on, you can understand why we ask you to obey the signs and flagpersons, take care through rough and dusty sections, and be alert for people and equipment working.

Why not slow down and enjoy the scenery? And take with you our best wishes for a safe and enjoyable trip.

For a Safe Journey

Travellers should remember that they are in a wilderness area, and service stations are not found at every turn in the road. Bearing this in mind, here are some tips for a safe, comfortable journey:

  1. Do not follow too closely to the vehicle in front. There may be flying gravel and dust to obscure your vision.
  2. The highway is constantly exposed to the forces of nature, necessitating continual repair and reconstruction work.
    In particular, be prepared for:
    • Grading in the warm season, snow plowing in winter.
    • Major reconstruction during spring, summer and fall.
    • Potholes or surface break-up. This is most prevalent during late spring and early summer and is caused by continual freezing and thawing of moisture trapped in the road bed. Please Slow Down on these sections.
    • Occasional washouts. These may occur in late spring or early summer as a result of heavy rain or rapid melting of the alpine snowpack after a spell of warm weather.
    • Surveyors and flag persons working on or adjacent to the road. Please Obey All Signs.
  3. When forward visibility is limited by a bend, bridge or hill, Please Slow Down. Some vehicles may cross the centre line to negotiate a curve, or there may be wildlife on the road.
  4. Be sure to carry emergency backup equipment in good condition (spare tire, fan belt, etc.).
  5. For information on highway conditions, check with tourist information centres, any RCMP detachment, Public Works offices in Fort Nelson, or Yukon Highways and Public Works offices in Whitehorse. Radio stations also provide highway reports.
  6. Drive with headlights on low beam.
  7. Buckle up. Seat belt use is mandatory in Canada. Distances in Canada are expressed in kilometres. For the most part, there are long stretches of excellent road surface, and there is no need to worry. Just take obvious precautions, keep up-to-date on road conditions and use common sense.

In any roadwork area, you may encounter equipment on the road, detours, delays, reduced speed limits, pilot car operations, dusty conditions and loose gravel. Please Drive With Extreme Care and Obey all Signals and Flagpersons.

Visitor Information Centres

For more information about driving on Yukon highways, visit one of our Visitor Information Centres

Police and Medical Services

Dawson Creek (250) 782-5211 (250) 782-2211 (250) 782-2211
Fort St. John (250) 787-8100 (250) 785-2079 (250) 785-2079
Wonowon (250) 787-8100 (250) 785-2079 (250) 785-2079
Fort Nelson (250) 774-2777 (250) 774-6916 (250) 774-2344
Toad River (250) 774-2777 (250) 232-5351 (250) 232-5351
Watson Lake (867) 536-5555 (867) 536-4444 (867) 536-4444
Teslin (867) 390-5555 (867) 390-4444 (867) 390-4444


(867) 667-8700


Haines Junction (867) 634-5555 (867) 634-6444 (867) 634-4444
Destruction Bay (867) 634-5555 (867) 841-4444 (867) 841-3333
Burwash Landing (867) 634-5555 (867) 841-4444 (867) 841-3333
Beaver Creek (867) 862-5555 (867) 862-4444 (867) 862-3333

You may also dial 1-867-667-5555 for police or 1-867-667-3333 for ambulance toll-free anywhere in Yukon.

Radio Stations

Weather and road conditions reports are broadcast on the following stations along the highway:

Dawson Creek CJDC (890) Road reports 6:00 am, 8:00 am, 12:30 pm, 5:00 pm; weather hourly
Fort St. John CKNL (560) Road reports 7:30 am, 8:30 am, 5:30 pm; weather all day
Fort Nelson CFNL (590) Road reports 7:30 am, 8:30 am, 9:05 am, 5:30 pm; weather all day
Watson Lake CBDB (990) (CBC) Road reports 8:30 am, 12:40 pm, 1:55 pm, 4:35 pm; weather hourly
Swift River CBDX (970) Same as CBDB Watson Lake
Teslin CBDK (940) Same as CBDB Watson Lake
Whitehorse CFWH (570) Same as CBDB Watson Lake
CKRW (610) Road reports 12:45 pm, 4:30 pm; weather every hour
CHON (98.1) Road reports 7:30 am, 12:30 pm, 5:30 pm; weather hourly
Haines Junction CBDF (103.5) Same as CBDB Watson Lake
Destruction Bay CBDL (105.1) Same as CBDB Watson Lake
Beaver Creek CBDM (690) Same as CBDB Watson Lake
All Yukon Communities CHON (90.5) Road reports 7:30 am, 12:30 pm, 5:30 pm; weather hourly

Road reports are also available at:

This report is based upon information available at the time of preparation. Actual conditions may vary. Be alert for changing conditions.