October 28: The Alaskan Highway was completed on this date in 1942

Justin Hyde

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Before World War II, no road existed connecting Alaska with the United States; given the rugged terrain, limited demand and international relations, such a road simply wasn't a priority for either the United States or Canada. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and threat to the west coast of both nations made such a road an overnight concern, and after several months of rushed construction, the 1,700-mile Alaskan Highway was completed on this date in 1942. Meant mostly as a way for the U.S. Army to haul supplies and machinery to bases, the road wasn't made safe for civilian use for a few years; today it's about 300 miles shorter after decades of continual improvements. Here's how the U.S. Army explained the project in the 1950s:

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