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The Whittier Tunnel leads to the Alaskan seaport town of Whittier. The town was built by the U.S. Army in WWII as a fuel terminal to bring supplies to interior Alaska. Today Whittier is still an off loading point for barges bringing rail cars from the lower 48. Also it is a popular stopping point for cruise ships. This 2.5 mile tunnel was built in 1943 to make a rail connection to Anchorage. It is now a single lane muti-use tunnel. Trains and highway vehicles must take turns using the tunnel. Highway traffic alternates each half hour for eastbound or westbound traffic. Vehicles must enter within a fifteen minute "window". It takes 6 minutes to traverse the tunnel. Speed limit is 20 MPH.
East portal of Whittier Tunnel
Above: The East portal of the Whittier Tunnel. Formerly a railroad only tunnel. In 2000, the tunnel was converted to use by trucks and automobiles. Improved ventilation and safety features were installed along with new track panels that included a roadway.
inside tunnelinside tunnel
Red lights
Red lights and crossing gates hold trucks and autos until tunnel is clear of opposing traffic.
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