No Interstates in Alaska?

From today’s Classic: from 1988.

I think it’s time for an update. Are there any Alaskan Dopers (or Dopers in general) who can tell me if it is still true that “Alaska, despite its unquestionable location on the mainland, has no miles of interstate at all”? I can’t believe (especially with the senior senator being who he is) that this has not changed.

So what’s the dope?

Yes and no. Alaska has no highways that use the I## designation,but there are national highways administered by the Interstate Highway System

Note, though, that these “interstates” are not signed as such, and are not limited-access roads like you’d find in the Lower 48. You can see pictures of their termini here.

Nope, no interstate highways. An interstate highway would imply that there is an adjoining state or states that it would connect to. Our neighbor is Canada, so we have the Alcan Highway, but it’s far from resembling something like I-5.

When I took a cruise to Alaska last year, the thing that impressed me was the number of big cities that could only be reached by air or water.

I would also like to point out that in colloquial usage here in the Heartland, “interstate” often means simply “four-lane restricted access with a median strip”; it doesn’t necessarily always mean “part of the official Interstate highway system”.

So the question for inquiring minds would then be, “Are there any four-lane restricted access highways in Alaska?”


My favorite part of map-reading while traveling is looking through the Rand McNally and observing which podunk little towns received pork-barrel funding in order to build a few-miles-long segment of “interstate” [read: four-lane restricted access] highway into and out of their podunk little town.

Ah, an inter nation-state highway.

Using that definition, the answer is “yes”. New Seward Highway in Anchorage appears much the same as any restricted access highway you would find Outside. Only thing is, it is only 9 miles long.

That doesn’t mean it’s not an interstate. The Maryland section of I-595 is only signed as US 50, but it’s still I-595.

umm… cite?




I only looked for “Juneau” but there are others. The percentage of the population in Alaska who own and fly planes is unbelievable.

The evidence I produced was regarding large cities in Alaska only being reached by air or water. If you need a cite that I took an Alaskan cruise, well I could show you the credit card bill.:wink:

We were hoping that Sen. Ted Stevens could get us a bridge built from the Alaska-Canada border to the Canada-Washington border, thus denying access to those pesky Canucks.

As to restricted access highways: besides the short portion of the Seward Highway that fits the definition, there is Minnesota Blvd and most of the Glenn Highway between Anchorage and Palmer that is four (and at times six) lane divided. Also, the few miles of the Parks Highway between the Glenn Highway cutoff and Wasilla.

Ethilrist: “major city” is a relative term, of course. After Anchorage (pop. 250,000), the next in line is a toss-up between Fairbanks and Juneau (pops. about 30,000). It goes rapidly downhill after that. All of the towns in Southeast Alaska are inaccessible by road, with the exceptions of Haines, Skagway, and one other very small town I can’t recall. All of those roads originate in Canada.

Fairbanks and many other towns are on the road system, but nearly all Native villages are accessible only by air or sea. The largest of those is Barrow at about 4,000, followed by Nome and Kotzebue at around 3,000.

You’re probably thinking of Hyder, which is adjacent to Stewart, BC.

Well, okay, then. There are (major) towns in Alaska that, if all you’ve got is a car, you literally can’t get there from here.

I did not know that.

I was surprised to find it out as well. And “major” town in Alaska includes the state’s capital as well as towns most people would consider “small”.

I talked to an Alaskan who told me about the first WalMart in Alaska (in 1993). The Grand Opening caused such a ruckus that the mayor declared a “state of emergency”. There was such an increase in air traffic that there were several wrecks.
Can’t find a cite for that, but the guy who told me about it seemed knowledgeable.

Where is US 50 I-595? There, to my knowleege is no 595 around here in Maryland. There is a 495, but that goes around DC and does not include US 50. There’s also a 695, but that’s in Baltimore and US 50 is no where near there.

US 50 runs from DC (where it’s New York Avenue) to Annapolis (where it’s also signed as 301) for much of its length. It crosses 495 in between. I’m not surprised you didn’t know it was 595 because, as I said, it’s not signed as such.

Tried to respond this morning, but the site crashed. I would suspect that this may be urban legend. However, because of the outrageously high cost of common consumable goods in bush Alaska, many villagers take any opportunity to either mail goods from Anchorage or have relatives do so.

Yeah, Hyder. That’s the other one. The town of Hyder had to tell cruise companies that they don’t want them stopping there any more. Tourists were treating the place like their own personal diarama, peering into people’s windows, entering their homes, etc. It’s part of the tourist mentality that Alaska is one big theme park.

In case you want a cite for that