Q. Are there interstates or freeways in Alaska? What are the roads like in winter? -Matthew
A. Certainly not, like you are thinking, I’m pretty sure. We have no big freeways, with multiple layers like you see in the lower 48. Nothing you could really call an interstate….since we are not next to any other state.
There are basically only about 4 main highways in Alaska. The Seward Highway connects the Kenai Penisula with Anchorage. There, you take the Glenn highway out of town and it goes all the way to Glennallen. About where Wasilla is, you can turn up the Parks Highway to Fairbanks. Going out the Glenn, when you come to Glannallen, it tees with the Richardson Hwy, which stretches from Valdez up to Fairbanks. About halfway to Fairbanks from Glennallen, there is a minor highway connecting the Richardson and the Parks….however, it is not open in the winter. There is also a minor highway south of Anchorage, connecting the Seward Hwy with some small towns. I think it is called the Sterling Hwy. Oh, yeah there is the ‘Tok Cutoff’ which takes you from above Glennallen over to Tok and the Alcan Hwy to the lower 48. That’s about it, far as I know.
I know a funny snowplow story from when we lived out near Copper Center. We had a friend who drove snowplow there. Of course when they would come upon a snowmobiler riding along in the ditch, they were supposed to lift their blade as they came alongside, so as not to spray them with snow. Well, Ed was driving along, daydreaming a bit, I’d guess, and all of a sudden realized he hadn’t lifted his blade. He brought the snowplow to a halt and looked back. Sure enough, there was a big pile of snow in the ditch, and sitting right on top, was the red pom pom of a ladies knit cap! He raced back and dug her out, with many many apologies. Fortunately, for him, she took it well and even laughed.
We have a very nice highway now going from the Wasilla/Palmer area in to Anchorage. It is 6 lane part of the way and 4 lane the rest of the way. I guess you could call it a ‘freeway’, as near the juncture of the Parks and the Glenn, there is an interchange which channels you to either Wasilla or Palmer and the railroad passes beneath. Anyway it makes it just a nice ‘cruise’ into Anchorage now.
Our roads are all very well maintained in the winter. The state highway boys do a fine job and it isn’t as big a deal driving up here in the winter as you might expect. The main thing above all is to remember to slow down in the winter. When the first snowfall hits, there is a few days of record number fender benders. Then people remember, “oh, yeah, it’s winter now” and they level off. Me? I don’r have to remember to slow down since I drive like a snail all year round! ha ha Hope this helps. -BJ