Alaska Highway Mile 0 Post
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member joarc
N 55° 45.509 W 120° 13.718
10U E 673895 N 6182677
Quick Description: Infamous Mile 0 Post, the start of the Alaska Highway.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 2/2/2008 6:32:43 PM
Waymark Code: WM337T
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member wildwoodke
Views: 130

Long Description:
"The Alaska Highway winding in and winding out fills my mind with serious doubt as to whether "the lout" who planned this route was going to hell or coming out!"
- Retired Sergeant Troy Hise
(written while he was stationed at Summit Lake, Historical Mile 392)

The following was taken from the Tourism Dawson Creek Website:
(visit link)

For over fifty years, the famed Alaska Highway has been a significant draw for visitors and residents alike. The building of the Alaska Highway is an epic tale that involves mystery, romance, and intrigue.

On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. This significant event forced the American and Canadian governments to reevaluate their security. There was an obvious need to shore up and protect the sovereignty of North America.

In response, a secure land transportation link was needed to transfer goods, materials, and men from the lower 48 states to Alaska. As one part of the wartime measures,1500 miles of road needed to be punched through the vast untamed wilderness of northern Canada and Alaska. Building in these northern areas would not be an easy feat; men and women would battle the mountains, muskegs and mosquitoes for eight months to finish this vital artery.

On March 9, 1942, Dawson Creek, a small northern Canadian community with a population of 600 people, bustled and swelled with activity when the first train carrying American troops arrived. In a matter of weeks the town’s population exploded to 10,000. Seven regiments of American engineers (approximately 11,000 men including three regiments of men with African American heritage) 16,000 civilians from Canada and the United States, and 7,000 pieces of equipment were thrown into action against some of the toughest and most unforgiving wilderness in the world.

On November 20, 1942, after little over nine months of intense construction, 250 soldiers, civilians, policemen, and government delegations from Canada and the United States, met at mile 1061, known as “Soldiers Summit”, where they cut the ribbon officially opening the “Alcan” Highway. The total cost for the construction of the 1,523 mile route, which also includes 133 major bridges and more than 8,000 culverts which, if placed end to end, would stretch over 57 miles, was about $140 million U.S. dollars.

This remarkable achievement has developed into a major transportation link in North America, stretching from Mile ‘0’ at Dawson Creek, British Columbia through the Yukon Territory and into Alaska. In 1946, reconstruction and upgrading was carried out under Canadian Army supervision.

On April 1, 1971, the Canadian Federal Government turned over the maintenance of the Yukon section of the Alaska Highway to the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works. Ever since the Alaska Highway was completed in the 1940’s, a continuous program of upgrading, widening and straightening has been underway. Virtually 100% of the Alaska Highway is now paved. The Alaska Highway, once an emergency wartime road, has developed into a vital link between the giant industrial regions of the U.S. and Canada and the natural resources of the Alaska and Yukon. But, aside from the economic aspects of the highway, it also represents a permanent monument to the resilient and enduring friendship between two great nations. On September 28th, 1996, a ceremony was held in Dawson Creek, at this time the Alaska Highway was designated as the 16th International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. completed 8 months later.

Regiments of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were moved north to work on the road. The Public Roads Administration organized civilian engineers and equipment, shipping everything from office furniture to trucks thousands of miles north.

The general route of the highway, determined by the War Department, was along a line of existing airfields from Edmonton, AB, to Fairbanks, AK. But down on the ground, the road followed existing winter roads, old Indian trails and rivers. Sometimes routing of the road relied on "sight engineering."

Soldiers of the 36th Regiment from the south and the 340th Regiment from the north met at Contact Creek near the British Columbia-Yukon Territory border on Sept. 24, 1942, marking completion of the southern sector of the Alaska Highway. By October, it was possible for a vehicle to travel the entire length of the highway, which had been dubbed the Alaska-Canada Military Highway, or "Alcan" for short.

Literally bulldozed through the wilderness, road conditions along the Alcan were horrific; 90 degree turns and 25 percent grades were not uncommon. Rain and truck traffic turned sections of the road into an impassable mire. The highway was improved in 1943.

In exchange for the highway's right-of-way through Canada and other considerations, the United States paid for construction of the highway and turned over the Canadian portion of the highway to the Canadian government in April 1946. The highway officially opened to the public in 1948.
Type of Marker: Could be classified as both

Type of Sign: Historic Site or Building Marker

Describe the parking that is available nearby: Park at the Northern Alberta Railway Park (jct of alaska ave and alaska hwy)

What Agency placed the marker?: not sure

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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
T0SHEA visited Alaska Highway Mile 0 Post 2/19/2021 T0SHEA visited it
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