North

Alaska Highway work in Whitehorse not 'twinning project', gov't says

Construction is underway to improve a section of the Alaska Highway south of the city, but a government official says any talk of twinning the entire Whitehorse corridor is premature.

Construction underway to improve highway south of the city, at Mt. Sima Road

Upgrades near the Mt. Sima Rd. intersection will include a passing lane, a deceleration lane, and an acceleration lane. (Vic Istchenko/CBC)

Whitehorse commuters who live south of the city are getting a welcome improvement to their daily drive.

A 1.5 kilometre passing lane, the first of its kind in the Whitehorse area, is under construction on the Alaska Highway south of the city, at the Mt. Sima Road intersection.

"There will be a passing lane, a deceleration lane, an acceleration lane and some intersection improvements," said Allan Nixon, Yukon's assistant deputy minister of transportation.

It's one of a number of safety upgrades planned for the Whitehorse corridor of the Alaska highway.

But highways officials say talk about "twinning" the road through Whitehorse — building a parallel road for increased traffic — is premature.

"People keep referring to it as the 'Alaska Highway twinning project,'" said Nixon, but "there is no such thing."

Nixon said short-term plans call for twinning certain sections of the corridor, but long-term plans are based on population growth estimates, 15 to 30 years down the road.

"We wouldn't need to do any of the additional work until 2031, and the bigger portion until 2045," said Nixon. 

He expects next year's upgrades will focus on a section of highway north of the city.

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