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Project Profiles

Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel

Location

Porter-Whittier, Prince William Sound, Alaska

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF)

Program Areas

P3Revenue - Road Pricing Revenue

Mode

Dual Mode Heavy Rail / Vehicular Tunnel

Description

The privately operated, 2.6-mile, dual mode Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel (aka Whittier Tunnel) connects the cities of Porter and Whittier on Prince William Sound, 65 miles southeast of Anchorage, Alaska. Originally constructed as a railroad tunnel in 1943, the tunnel was Whittier's only land link for over 50 years, during which time the city developed as an important intermodal barge-rail freight hub. In response to the growing number of people wanting to travel overland to Whittier, DOT&PF converted the tunnel for use as a one-lane combined highway and rail tunnel that allows cars and trains to take turns traveling through the tunnel.

The Whittier Tunnel conversion involved two innovative P3s. DOT&PF procured the conversion as its first design-build contract, which it awarded to Kiewit Construction Company. Construction began in September 1998 and involved replacing the grave track bed with concrete slab suitable for both rail and rubber tire vehicles.

In a second P3 application, DOT&PF has outsourced the operation of the tunnel to VMS, Inc. (purchased by Australia's Transfield Services in October 2007), a private highway asset management and operations company. Since its opening in the summer of 2000, VMS has been responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Whittier Tunnel. VMS' responsibilities include toll collection and administration, train/vehicle passage control, systems monitoring, as well as all maintenance operations for railway/roadway systems, including snow removal at tunnel entrances. VMS also provides initial emergency fire/rescue and EMT responses.

Cost

$80 million ($57 million tunnel conversion, $23 million approach roads)

Funding Sources

Pay-as-you-go (toll receipts)

Project Delivery / Contract Method

Design-Build (tunnel conversion)

Design-Bid-Build (approach roads)

Private Partner

Design-builder: Kiewit Construction Company and Hatch Mott MacDonald

O&M provider: VMS, Inc.

Project Advisors / Consultants

HDR - Design-build advisor

CH2M Hill - Approach roads design

Herndon and Thompson, Inc. - Approach road contractor

Lenders

None

Duration / Status

Re-opened June 7, 2000

Financial Status

Paid

Innovations

  • First design-build highway project in Alaska
  • First dual mode rail/vehicular tunnel
  • Longest dual mode tunnel in the United States
  • First O&M fee service contract in Alaska
  • The project has won many awards including the American Society of Civil Engineers' Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement

Related Links / Articles

DOT&PF Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel Website

Contacts

Gordon S. Burton
Facility Manager
Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities
5300 East Tudor Road
Anchorage, Alaska 99507
Tel. (907) 472-2584
gordon.burton@alaska.gov