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The Dalton Highway / Haul Road
TAPS Facts

The Dalton Highway / Haul Road

DALTON HIGHWAY (Formerly North Slope Haul Road): James B. Dalton Highway is the name applied by the state in 1981 to 415 miles of roadway, including the North Slope Haul Road and the 57- mile road from the Yukon River to Livengood, constructed by Alyeska in the winter of 1969-70.

This section of road was originally 56 miles, but one mile was added after realignment by the state at Livengood in 1981. James B. Dalton was a native-born Alaskan and graduate mining engineer who supervised construction of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line in Alaska. He was an expert in Arctic engineering and logistics and served as a consultant in early oil exploration in northern Alaska, pioneering winter trails for heavy equipment transport.

The following information about the highway is current as of construction:

  • Bridges, permanent: 20.
  • Grade: 12 percent maximum.
  • Gravel used: 32 million cubic yards.

Ownership: Originally Alyeska; control transferred to the state in October 1978.

HAUL ROAD: Portion of Dalton Highway from the Yukon River to Prudhoe Bay. Built by Alyeska.

  • Cost: $125 million, approximately.
  • Dates: Started April 29, 1974; completed and dedicated September 29, 1974.
  • Labor: 3 million hours.
  • Time: 154 days.
  • Length: 358 miles (Yukon River to Prudhoe Bay).

The Journey to Prudhoe

Even today, the journey to Prudhoe Bay is far from easy. But in 1975, just after the Dalton Highway/Haul Road was completed, thousands of tons of critical equipment and infrastructure for North Slope rigs and modules were hauled there from Houston, Texas, through the Panama Canal, around Mexico, and up the West Coast by tough tugs, barges and crews. After some fabrication in Tacoma, the Arctic-bound armada headed toward Prudhoe Bay in a race to avoid an ice pack and meet deadlines. Learn all about it and follow the journey in this awesome TAPS #TBT film.