By Gretchen Wehmhoff

Following the Memorandum of Understanding signed Feb. 9 by Yukon’s Premier Ranj Pillai and Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, much-needed upgrades on the north Alaska Highway will begin in 2025 and continue until the end of the project in 2027.

In February 2024, the Yukon and Alaska submitted a joint application for U.S. government funding under the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program.


Construction and upgrades will be funded by a $31.125M USD (approximately $42.6M CAD) investment by the State of Alaska through the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). This funding will help to ensure safe and efficient travel for Yukoners and Alaskans along a major northern route.

The highway serves as the primary land link between southeast Alaska and the rest of the United States and connects many rural communities in the Yukon including Haines Junction, Destruction Bay, Burwash Landing and Beaver Creek. This roadway also links the traditional territories of the Champagne and Aishihik, Kluane, and White River First Nations.

This agreement commits Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities and the Yukon’s Department of Highways and Public Works to work together to restore sections of the Alaska Highway in the Yukon.

The project will target a portion of the north Alaska highway, spanning approximately 222.5 kilometers from Destruction Bay to the Canada/US border. This section faces a range of road maintenance and safety challenges due to thawing permafrost. Restoration efforts will involve resurfacing, repairing the road underneath the surface and culverts. It will also include improvement to the drainage to make sure the road can be used safely at its intended speed.

“This partnership showcases the importance of working in collaboration towards a shared goal for northerners.” Premier Ranj Pillai said in a prepared statement.


The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also called the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) has specific language that allows portions of the Alaska Highway in Canada to compete for and receive US federal grant funding for its reconstruction

In the same statement Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said, “This success in the STIP application underscores the importance of maintaining a safe and efficient passage for all visitors to the North, and we look forward to an exciting construction season ahead.”

STIP is separate from RAISE funding and work can proceed without the latter.

Minister of Highways and Public works in Yukon, Nils Clarke expressed his gratitude to Alaska for contributing to the project.

 The funding allocated under this program will help mitigate the effects of thawing permafrost on this essential roadway. This contribution showcases both our governments’ recognition of the importance of this road link, as well as our commitment to keep the north Alaska highway safe for all road travelers,” said Clarke