Alaska Highway, all-weather road, 1,523 mi (2,451 km) long, extending NW from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to Fairbanks, Alaska. An extension of an existing Canadian road between Dawson Creek and Edmonton, Alta., the Alaska Highway was constructed (Mar.–Sept., 1942) by U.S. troops as a supply route to military forces in Alaska during World War II. It was a significant engineering feat because of the difficulties of terrain and weather. In the last stretch to Fairbanks the road used the previously built Richardson Highway. The Haines Cutoff connects the Alaska Highway with the Alaska panhandle. In 1946 control of the Canadian part of the road was transferred to Canada. In 1947 the entire highway was opened to unrestricted travel; it is one of the best routes to Alaska. The highway is open throughout the year, and there are roadside facilities along its length. It was formerly known as the Alaskan International Highway and the Alcan Highway.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.