Alaska Highway

From: Public Services and Procurement Canada

The Alaska Highway is the principal land access route to northern British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska. As such, the highway is critical to the social networks and economies of the entire region. The Government of Canada managed section of the highway consists of many components, including the roadway itself, 56 bridges/bridge culverts, many small culverts, 10 maintenance yards and salt shed structures and numerous pits and quarries.

Find out about our projects, and what is being done to maintain and improve the highway.

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Project overview

Fort Nelson, British Columbia
Type of project
Lead department
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Construction firms
Peter’s Bros. Construction Ltd., Penticton, British Columbia
$39.6 million
Project status
Scheduled to be completed in fall 2021
Next steps
Peter’s Bros. Construction Ltd. will make a number of infrastructure improvements, including the conversion of the current road surface to a stronger, more durable pavement that will make the highway safer and reduce maintenance costs.

Project description

Projects on the highway are planned based on:


The current priority is to re-surface the southern section of the Highway. We are changing the surface from Bituminous Surface Treatment (BST), a lower grade pavement, to asphalt. Asphalt is better able to withstand truck traffic. It is more comfortable to drive on and since it is smoother, when vehicles drive on it they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than they do driving on BST

Cleaning up contaminated sites

We also has projects associated with the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan (FCSAP). Federal contaminated sites are located:

Contamination is most often a result of past activities that had environmental consequences that were not well understood at the time. The federal government renewed the program for another 15 years, so it will run until 2034. Budget 2019 announced $1.16 billion for 2020 to 2024.

Much of the effort when dealing with contaminated sites is assessment work. We want to determine how contaminated a site is. Once that is established, we remediate the site.  Remediation may include:

We are also removing abandoned structures and roadbeds. This will reduce risks and hazards.

Photo gallery

View photos of the Alaska Highway.

The Alaska Highway

Photo of a mountain panorama taken from the Alaska Highway, heading south, near kilometre 684 (in the area of Peterson Creek, British Columbia)

Benefit to Canadians

The Alaska Highway is located on the traditional territories of the Kaska Dena and the Treaty 8 First Nations. Local First Nations Peoples played a vital role during construction of the highway. They acted as guides, helping to navigate through this harsh, difficult and remote territory. They knew the area best, as their people had lived there since time immemorial.

As the construction of the Alaska Highway had gone through their traditional territories and communities, it brought:

Many local First Nations and other Indigenous Peoples continue to work on and, or operate businesses associated with the highway. We are continuing to engage with local First Nations in the economic development opportunities associated with the operation of the Highway. The goal of this engagement is to increase the participation of Indigenous-owned businesses in the Government of Canada procurement system.

The Government of Canada is committed to Reconciliation and meaningful engagement with Indigenous Peoples. As part of Canada’s commitment to Reconciliation with First Nations, Metis and Inuit, we are modernizing procurement practices and increasing bidder diversity to support Indigenous-owned businesses. The department included requirements for Indigenous partnerships in some of its contracts. Six of these were for the Alaska Highway.

Project background

The Alaska Highway was built in 1943 by the United States Corps of Engineers in response to the bombing of Pearl Harbour. It was built to provide land access to Alaska from the lower 48 states during the Second World War.

The Alaska Highway is an essential transportation corridor for local First Nations, residents, tourists and industry workers.

The highway stretches 2,450 kilometres across northern British Columbia and southern Yukon, into Alaska. Almost 80% (1,900 kilometres) of the highway is in Canada:

We are the custodian for the 835 kilometres of highway that the Government of Canada is responsible for.  As custodian of highway, we are committed to:

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