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.
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 is being reconstructed to what is called BST Standard. BST stands for Bituminous Surface Treatments, a type of paving. 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. 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.
Travellers should remember 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:
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 SIGNS AND FLAGPERSONS.
For more information, visit Visitor Information Centres
|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|
|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 StationsRadio 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|
British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Highways
Responsible for Alaska Highway Km 0-133
Fort St. John, B.C. (250) 787-3237
Office hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday
Road reports: (250) 861-2929 - code 3309
Public Works and Government Services Canada
Responsible for Alaska Highway Km 133-968
Fort Nelson B.C. (250) 774-6956
Office hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday
Road reports: (250) 774-7447
Yukon Government Department of Highways and Public Works
Responsible for Alaska Highway Km 968-1966, as well as the Canadian portion of Haines Road
Whitehorse YT (867) 667-3710
Office hours: 7:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday
Road reports: (867) 456-7623 or
This report is based upon information available at the time of preparation. Actual conditions may vary. Be alert for changing conditions.