State Route 4 in Alaska
State Route 4, also known as the Richardson Highway is a state route in the U.S. state of Alaska. The road forms a north-south route from Valdez on the south coast to Delta Junction inland. The road is 428 kilometers long.
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State Route 4 begins in the coastal town of Valdez, spectacularly located on a fjord with high snowcapped mountains and glaciers all around. The road heads east through a valley and then north through the Chugach Mountains. The road runs over the 855 meter high Thompson Pass. The road heads north through lonely wilderness, with spectacular mountain scenery. To the north the terrain flattens out and the mountain ranges are further away from the road. One then reaches the village of Glenallen, where the road joins State Route 1is double numbered. The road then crosses the eastern part of the Alaska Range, snowy mountains with peaks of up to 4,000 meters. The road runs through spectacular valleys and glaciers reach close to the road. Then you reach a flatter area again and State Route 4 empties into State Route 2 at Delta Junction, about 150 kilometers southeast of Fairbanks.
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The Richardson Highway originated as a trail in the late 1800s and was historically the main north-south route within Alaska, connecting the coast at Valdez to Fairbanks inland. In 1910 the trail was passable for wagons. This route was built by Wilds P. Richardson (1861-1929), after whom the road was eventually named. The road was made suitable for motorized traffic in the 1920s. From 1933, a hefty toll wascharged on trucks. The Thompson Pass was originally closed during the winter, leaving Valdez isolated during the winter. It has only been since 1950 that the Thompson Pass has been kept open in the winter as well. In 1957, the entire Richardson Highway was asphalted. Between 1973 and 1977, the Trans-Alaska Pipeline was constructed parallel to State Route 4. There are transhipment terminals for oil tankers in Valdez.
In 1971, State Route 4’s importance as a north-south connection to Alaska waned as the shorter State Route 3 between Wasilla and Fairbanks was completed. This route is shorter for traffic from Anchorage to Fairbanks.
On January 24, 2014, a large avalanche blocked the Richardson Highway northeast of Valdez between Keystone Canyon and Thompson Pass, creating an ice lake behind it. The road was closed for more than a week, making Valdez unreachable.
4,600 vehicles drive daily in Valdez, dropping to 400 vehicles between Valdez and Glenallen. The portion north of Glenallen that joins State Route 1 has 900 vehicles. The section through the Alaska Range south of Delta Junction has 300 vehicles per day.
State Route 5 in Alaska
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State Route 5, also known as Taylor Highway is a state route in the U.S. state of Alaska. The road connects Tetlin Junction to the remote village of Eagle on the Yukon River. The road is 257 kilometers long.
Route 5 begins at an intersection with State Route 2 ( Alaska Highway ) in the hamlet of Tetlin Junction, 20 miles east of Tok. The road heads northeast through lonely wilderness. After 106 kilometers you pass the hamlet of Chicken with 17 inhabitants. This is the only village between the start and end of the road. The road is asphalted up to Chicken, then a gravel road. The road leads through hilly area with sometimes low mountain ranges. There are no really big differences in height. The road ends in Eagle on the Yukon River, not far from the Canadian border ( Yukon ). Eagle is a village with less than 100 inhabitants.
The road was built in 1953 for mining. The road is not kept open to traffic in winter, but it is passable with snowmobiles.
Every day 180 vehicles drive on the southern part and 40 vehicles on the northern part.
State Route 6 in Alaska
State Route 6, also known as the Steese Highway is a state route in the U.S. state of Alaska. The road connects the remote village of Circle to Alaska’s main road network at Fox. The road is 259 kilometers long.
Route 6 begins in Fox on State Route 2, which is also called the Steese Highway south to Fairbanks. Fox is not far from Fairbanks and the area here is still somewhat cultivated. That changes to the northeast, where the road runs through vast wilderness. The first roughly 80 kilometers of the road is still asphalted, after that there is mainly gravel, except in Central and Circle themselves. The road runs over the 1,113 meter high Eagle Summit. The mountains in the area are about 1,400 meters high. The road then descends into the wide valley of the Yukon River and continues through fairly flat terrain. The road ends in the village of Circle.
With the discovery of gold at the end of the 19th century, the route became important for prospectors and the mining industry. The route over the Eagle Summit has always been considered difficult, mainly because of the harsh climate. The road over Eagle Summit was inaugurated in 1927.
1,800 vehicles run daily at Fox, dropping east to about 100 vehicles at Central and 60 vehicles between Central and Circle.