The Alaska Highway (Building America: Then and Now) by Paul Kupperberg

By Paul Kupperberg

Following the japanese assault on Pearl Harbor in 1941, it was once made up our minds that Alaska wanted additional defence within the occasion of another assault through the Aleutian Islands. This intended linking distant Fairbanks, Alaska with the present U.S. street method. paintings crews had in basic terms 8 months to accomplish this 1,500 mile street around the desert.

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Sample text

If the necessary machinery was not available to do a job, that job still got done with hand tools and manual labor. “We had to make speed and all I was trying to do was to get this road behind me. My specifications . . were to supply the troops that were ahead . . ” 59 CHAPTER 4 “This Is No Picnic” orkers who applied for jobs with civilian contractors Bechtel-Price Callahan for the CANOL pipeline project were greeted by the following sign at the hiring halls where they gathered: W This is No Picnic!

49 50 THE ALASKA HIGHWAY “IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET MISSION” Even wi th t he ma ssive movement of men an d mater ial t hat would so on be t raveling nor th by sea an d r ail, t he A laska Hig hway wa s sup pose d to b e a se cret op eration. A s a war time emer gency c onstruction p roject in a remote area , sep arated f rom enemy for ces by o nly 7 50 mi les (1,207 k m), t he hig hway wa s c onsidered v ulnerable to s abotage. A lthough di scretion wa s t he g overnment’s intent, t he real ity of k eeping a 1 ,600-plus-mile ( 2,575 k m) hig hway a se cret t hrough inhabited— if often o nly barely— regions wa s ano ther mat ter enti rely.

O ver t he year s, i t would b e extended sou th to K atherine an d, by 1929, to Bir dum. T he Pine Cre ek line was shu t down in 1976. A lthough a north-to-south r ail l ine had lo ng b een di scussed, i t wa s not unti l February 2004 that a rail line from Adelaide in the s outh to Darwin in the nor th wa s f nally c ompleted. I t would , however , t ake t he ou tbreak of W orld W ar II to tur n t he dust y old T rack into so mething t hat more closel y resem bled a real road . 55 56 THE ALASKA HIGHWAY workforce had set to work at one end of the road and moved forward, workers would always be waiting for those ahead of them to complete their jobs before they could do their own.

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