State Route 1 is a state route and partial freeway in the U.S. state of Alaska. The road runs from Homer via Anchorage to Tok. Around Anchorage, two parts of the route have been designed as a highway, but they do not connect. State Route 1 is a total of 879 kilometers long.
Homer – Anchorage
Route 1 begins on the so-called Homer Spit, a peninsula in the Kachemak Bay. The road then passes through the town of Homer and follows the west coast of the Kenai Peninsula to the northeast. This area is flat, but in the distance are the snowy mountains with peaks up to 1,900 meters. Although the road passes through sparsely populated areas, the road is not deserted, as there are frequent villages on the route. Via Cooper Landing, State Route 1 heads inland and through mountainous terrain, following fairly wide valleys. East of Cooper Landing is a junction with State Route 9to Seward on the coast. The road is then called the Seward Highway and runs northwards and runs through spectacular mountain areas. At 1,400 meters the mountains are not particularly high, but they are steep. State Route 1 continues into the low-lying valleys. The road then curves along the coast to the city of Anchorage.
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In the city of Anchorage, State Route 1 is a 7-mile freeway with 2×2 lanes. West it parallels the Minnesota Drive Expressway, also a freeway. About 4 kilometers before Downtown Anchorage the highway ends and you have to follow city roads with traffic lights. State Route 1 passes, but not through downtown, with the road turning east. After 2 kilometers the road becomes a freeway again, this time a longer stretch until close to Palmer. The highway has 2×2 lanes and leads through the suburbs along Cook Inlet. To the southeast is the wilderness and mountains of Chugach State Park. A bridge crosses the Matanuska River, with the highway becoming State Route 3. just before Palmerto Wasilla. State Route 1 then heads north as a regular road to Palmer.
Anchorage – Tok
De Glenn Highway.
State Route 1 then follows the valley of the Matanuska River to the east. To the south are high snow-capped mountains with glaciers. Near Glacier View, the glacier is a few hundred meters away from the road, which runs at an altitude of about 500 meters. State Route 1 is a spectacular road, with good weather you have beautiful views of the snowy mountains to the south, with peaks reaching almost 4,000 meters. The road here goes over the Eureka Summit which is 1,106 meters high, the highest point of State Route 1. One comes to the east in a flatter area, further away from the mountains. This landscape consists of tundra. At Glenallen the road turns north and joins State Route 4. for a whilewho is from Valdez. To the east is the 4,963 meter high East Blackburn, prominently visible in good weather. State Route 1 heads northeast and initially remains in a flatter area, then crosses the 747-foot Mentasta Pass. The road then descends to the village of Tok, where State Route 1 ends at an intersection with State Route 2.
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The section between Anchorage and Tok has been administratively an Interstate Highway since 1976, namely the Interstate A1. However, the road was not constructed according to Interstate Highway design requirements (it is not a freeway).
The road from Homer to Anchorage is partly called the Sterling Highway. This road was built between 1947 and 1950. Most villages on the Kenai Peninsula have been developed along this road. Tourism here mainly consists of sport fishing.
The north-south section south of Anchorage is called the Seward Highway. The construction of this road started in 1923 and was completed in 1952 as an asphalt road. It is not known when the highway in southern Anchorage was built, but at least before 1996 and presumably in the 1960s or 1970s. A connection to the Glenn Highway along Downtown as a freeway has been planned for years.
The Glenn Highway is the east-west section east of Anchorage and is part of the longest freeway in Alaska. Originally built in the early 1930s to connect Anchorage and Palmer, this road was improved during World War II to reflect Alaska’s strategic location. It is not known when the highway was built exactly, but at least before 1996 and presumably in the 1960s or 1970s. The grade separated junction with State Route 3 southwest of Palmer opened to traffic circa 2005.
The Tok Cut-Off from Glennallen to Tok was constructed in the 1940s and 1950s. The road is called a cut-off because there is no need to make a detour via the traditional route towards Fairbanks.
In 2017-2018, a diverging diamond interchange was constructed at the junction of the Glenn Highway with Muldoon Road in eastern Anchorage. Between 2021 and 2025, a 16-kilometer bypass along Cooper Landing will be constructed on the Kenai Peninsula.
For years, it has been planned to link the Seward Highway and the Glenn Highway along Downtown Anchorage via a freeway. This would connect the southern approach road with the eastern approach road without having to drive over the secondary road network.
Up to 9,000 vehicles drive daily in Homer and 2,000 to 3,500 vehicles across the Kenai Peninsula. The section that joins the Seward Highway to Anchorage has 3,500 to 5,000 vehicles, increasing to 10,000 vehicles closer to Anchorage.
Anchorage’s southern approach road has a maximum of 55,000 vehicles per 24-hour period, the ground-level section along Downtown has 45,000 to 50,000 vehicles per 24-hour period. The Glenn Highway east of Anchorage has 55,000 vehicles on the outskirts of Anchorage, peaking at 61,000 vehicles just east of Anchorage due to a busy military base. Traffic volumes then drop to 27,000 vehicles at the end of the freeway in Palmer.
15,000 vehicles pass through Palmer, rapidly descending to 2,500 vehicles north of Palmer. This drops to just 800 vehicles over Eureka Summit to Glennallen. The part further to Tok only has 300 to 800 vehicles.