Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel


Between the city of Whittier and Alaska's interior looms Maynard Mountain, known for subzero, 150-mph winds, but, thanks to engineers, the port has vital highway access to the other side. Rather than go over, around, or blast a way through, they modified a railroad tunnel for use by motor vehicles. At 2.5 mi., the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is North America's longest dual-use tunnel. Because it's only one-lane wide, computers control the direction of traffic and prevent vehicles from being inside at the same time as a train. Jet engine fans help clean the tunnel's air, and the entryways are specially built to withstand avalanches.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Civil
Topic(s):Space/Transportation
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:Anton Anderson was the chief engineer for the project that brought rail access to Whittier. He came to Alaska in 1919, where he served as engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, chief engineer for the Alaska Railroad, and mayor of Anchorage. The tunnel was dedicated to him in 1976 for his long service to Alaska and the Alaska Railroad.