State Route 7 in Alaska

By | October 14, 2022

 

SR-7
Get started ketchikan
End Haines
Length 37 + 34 + 39 + 40 mi
Length 60 + 55 + 63 + 64 km
Route
ketchikanKnudson Cove

Petersburg

Juneau

Echo Cove

Haines

State Route 7 is a state route in the U.S. state of Alaska. The road consists of four parts in the southeast of the state, the middle part of which serves the capital Juneau. The combined length is 242 kilometers.

  • WATCHTUTORIALS.ORG: Features why Alaska has the nickname as The Last Frontier and its economy, history and geography.

Travel directions

Tongass Highway

The southern part in the Ketchikan region is called the Tongass Highway and is 60 kilometers long. The road runs along the west coast of Revillagigedo Island. It is Alaska’s southernmost numbered road. The road runs through the town of Ketchikan and ends just after Knudson Cove.

Mitkoff Highway

The Mitkoff Highway runs over Mitkof Island. The terminus of the road is the town of Petersburg.

Glacier Highway

The road then runs through the capital Juneau. The environment consists of mountains with glaciers that reach almost to the sea. Between Juneau and the airport, the road has 2×2 lanes. The road ends north of Juneau.

Haines Highway

The third and northernmost section runs from Haines on the coast to the border with Canada. This section is called the Haines Highway, which continues in British Columbia and Yukon to Haines Junction. The road runs through a spectacular valley with 1,600 meter high mountains right next to the road. The border with Canada is at an altitude of 260 meters.

  • acronymmonster.com: Provides state overview of Alaska and its alternative name as The Last Frontier

Alaska Marine Highway

See also Alaska Marine Highway.

The 4 sections of State Route 7 are connected via the Alaska Marine Highway, a ferry service that serves the entire Alaskan coast. The boats cover a distance of 5,600 kilometers and start from the US state of Washington to end in Dutch Harbor on the Aleutian Islands. 100,000 vehicles use the ferry service every year.

History

Not much is known about the history of State Route 7, as the roads were individually developed on the islands. The portion of the Haines Highway was built in 1943 by the US military as an alternative route to the Pacific Ocean. Around 2011, a grade-separated connection opened at Lemon Creek, the first in the Juneau area.

Future

Juneau is the largest place in North America that is not accessible by road. There are ferry services (Alaska Marine Highway) and airplanes. There is also no rail connection to Juneau. To make Juneau accessible by road, a new road connection is planned, a project called Juneau Access.

Originally, there were two possible routes to Juneau, a road along the Lynn Canal to Haines/Skagway, or a route through the Taku River Valley, from Juneau east through Canada. These alternatives were already being investigated in the early 1970s. The route through the Taku River Valley was dropped because the distance to the nearest through road – the Alaska Highway – via this route is more than 250 kilometers through wilderness. Then they concentrated on a route along the Lynn Canal, a deep fjord that leads to Haines and Skagway.

In the early 1970s, a route along the west side of the Lynn Canal to Haines was considered because the Haines Highway was the only connection north at the time. The route to Skagway was added later in the 1970s, as the Klondike Highway was completed in the late 1970s as the second north-south route in the region. Both routes join the Alaska Highway in Yukon. At the time, however, no plan was worked out for the construction of the road.

The project was revived in 1994, a draft route decision was published in 1997, and a preferred alternative was identified in 2000, a route along the east side of the Lynn Canal. Furthermore, they did not enter the planning process at the time. Later, another re-examination was conducted, the preferred alternative in 2014 was a road link along the east side of the Lynn Canal to the Katzehin River, and from there two short ferry services to Haines and Skagway. This link is 80 kilometers long and will cost about $575 million to build.

Traffic intensities

18,000 vehicles drive daily in Ketchikan and 3,000 vehicles north of it. The northernmost section at Ketchikan handles 250 vehicles. The Mitkoff Highway handles 10 vehicles at the start point, 250 vehicles at the halfway point, and 4,500 vehicles in Petersburg. There are 500 to 1,000 vehicles operating around Juneau, peaking at 17,000 vehicles in Juneau itself. There are 1,600 vehicles in Haines, dropping to 200 vehicles at the border with Canada.

State Route 7 in Alaska