- Briefing Room
U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
The location of the Alaska Division office is in Juneau. Juneau is a remote capital city which means to get to it a plane or boat is needed. In 2015, the Division adopted the following focus areas: people centric, collaborating for Alaska’s future, embracing innovation, data driven decisions, and responsible investments. Why adopt focus areas? Alaska is a unique state with unique challenges, and the focus areas help us ensure the program is being delivered efficiently and effectively.
Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. and has 2,229 miles of roads on the National Highway System. A few of our interesting roadways are Portage Glacier Road that contains the Whittier Tunnel which is the longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America; Alaska’s Dalton Highway which is one of the most isolated roads, and runs 414 miles; and the Alaska Marine Highway, which is one of the National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads covering 3,500 miles, and is a marine route that serves thirty-five different ports in Alaska, Canada, and Washington.
Designing and constructing the road system is no easy task with the geographically complicated terrain and climate diversity here. Examples of challenges that need to be considered include permafrost, tundra, muskegs, earthquakes, and temperature variations between winter and summer of 180°
The FHWA assigned responsibility for making project NEPA approvals and other related environmental decisions for highway projects to the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF), in 2017, based on a 23 U.S.C. 327 Memorandum of Understanding (327 MOU). The NEPA Assignment Program allows a State to apply to assume the Secretary of Transportation’s responsibilities related to the NEPA and associated environmental laws, regulations, and policies. Alaska is one of a small number of states to have taken on this responsibility. Prior to the 327 MOU, in 2009, the DOT&PF had assumed responsibility for making categorical exclusion (CE) determinations under 23 U.S.C. 326 (the 6004 Program).