Alaska Roads - AK 3
AK 3 (Interstate A4, Parks Highway
AK 3 is under construction as a freeway for its first several miles from AK 1, where the Glenn Parks Interchange is also under construction. The highway from Wasilla to Denali was built by the efforts of Mary Carey, a Texan who made yearly driving trips to Alaska. She decided to settle in part of the middle of nowhere that is Alaska, southeast of Mount McKinley (and right by a pretty nice view), and then demanded that the proposed road past her be built. As is the usual case, the lone voice wins (well, she had considerable political clout thanks to a letter-writing campaign, and would easily have thrown the government out if they ignored her), and AK 3 was completed in 1972. Today, her daughter is still in that original spot, writing children's books and selling her mother's literary chronicles.
This is Alaska's 13th state highway, after AK 1-11 and AK 98. This may be the only sign for it, though, at the top of the NB 3 Trunk Road exit. AK Business Loop 3 is the remnant of old AK 3 around the Glenn Parks area, where it has been supplanted by the freeway.
Oh yeah, way to take big photos. The first sign is an old, beat-up reminder that you are leaving Matanuska-Susitna Borough, popularly known as Mat-Su (yes, there are enough people in Alaska to make something popular). The second is the entrance to Denali National Park and Preserve. Denali is also Mt. McKinley, but apparently he wasn't a great President or something.
NB on AK 3 at AK 8, and EB on AK 8 at AK 3. Or, NB Parks Highway at Denali Highway, etc. The Denali Highway runs eastward toward AK 4, and is Alaska's only state-maintained gravel highway south of Fairbanks with the exception of small pieces of AK 10 (which is a very piecemeal road well east of Anchorage that is missing a good 50-100 mile section). That may change, though, as AKDOT is tired of closing it every winter and plowing it in the spring. Think about how much snow accumulates in the interior of Alaska, and you can see why they're tired of having it. (Oddly, according to Oscar Voss, Alaska maintains most roads in the state, so I don't follow what decommissioning would do unless it implies abandonment.) This intersection has several old shields; in particular, the 8 shield in the first photo is older than the 3 shield. Look at the ALASKA text to see the difference.
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