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Landmark Accomplishments:

  • Longest highway tunnel in North America (13,300' or 2.5 miles).
  • Longest combined rail and highway use tunnel in North America.
  • First U.S. tunnel with jet turbine and portal fan ventilation.
  • First computerized regulation of both rail and highway traffic.
  • First tunnel designed for -40° F. and 150 mph winds.
  • Portal buildings designed to withstand avalanches

cross-section diagramjet fan image

Fifty miles southeast of Anchorage near Portage Glacier, the tunnel connects the port city of Whittier on Prince William Sound to the Seward Highway and Southcentral Alaska. It opened to vehicle traffic on June 7, 2000 after extensive conversion from a World War II railroad tunnel.

History, tunnel facts, operational information, and construction details are available on this website. For further questions or information, please contact:

Gordon S. Burton, Facility Manager
phone: 907-472-2584
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
5300 East Tudor Road Anchorage, Alaska 99507
Fax: 907-472-2533



  • 2001 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award,
    American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) - theIr highest award
  • 2001 Grand Award, American Council of Engineering Consultants
  • 2001 Best Project - Public Sector over $15 million, Design Build Institute of America
  • 2000 Excellence in Construction Award, Associated General Contractors of America. (AGC)
  • 2000 Globe Award for Excellence in Environmental Protection and Mitigation, American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)
  • Awards of Excellence for Engineering Design and Outstanding Heavy/Highway Project, F. W. Dodge
  • 2000 Concrete Bridge Award of Excellence, Portland Cement Association
  • American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official's (AASHTO):
  • Total Program Excel Award for Public Involvement with a Consultant.
  • President's Award for Highways, to Tom Moses, Alaska DOT's lead engineer on the project.

Alaska DOT&PFWhittier Logo ARRC Logo