Denali Highway now open for public travel

A section of the narrow road on the Denali Highway between miles 42 and 60. (DOTPF)
A section of the narrow road on the Denali Highway between miles 42 and 60. (DOTPF)(KTVF)
Published: May. 21, 2020 at 3:04 PM AKDT
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The Denali Highway is now open for travel according to the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT).

“Typically, the Denali Highway is open on May 15 -- that’s our goal every year,” says Caitlin Frye, Northern Region Information Officer with DOT. “Our crews start opening it up from both ends starting mid-April.”

The Denali Highway spans the southern part of the Alaskan interior, between Paxson on the Richardson Highway and Cantwell on the Parks Highway. Due to snow and wind on the Richardson, however, Frye says it took DOT crews longer to get the highway open.

“If people do travel that highway, they should be prepared to be self-sufficient,” Frye says, noting that the highway does not have the same services as other major highways in the state.

“Bring emergency supplies,” Fry continues. “It’s still cold out there, so bring some warm clothes with you. Make sure that you’re set up to take care of yourself if you need to.”

Drivers should also note that the highway does not have cellphone reception.

Additionally, between miles 42 and 60, the road is currently narrow. “It wasn’t plowed out very wide,” Frye says. She notes that there will be message boards in the area for drivers. “We’re encouraging people to go slowly through there and look out for vehicles coming in the other direction.”

“Just be prepared for remote travel on a remote highway…and enjoy the view, cause it’s a pretty spectacular place,” Frye concludes.

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