For some unknown reason, our cruise line does not pick up passengers in Anchorage. One would think that a port with the name “Anchorage” that had an international airport would be the ideal cruise ship departure point. But our cruise line docked in Whittier, a town of about 180 people located an hour and a half away. The shuttle bus to Whittier cost us each $55. Worse, Whittier is only accessible through a ridiculous one-lane tunnel.
The Whittier Tunnel through Maynard Mountain was originally constructed in the early 1940’s by the Army Corps of Engineers. It’s two and a half miles long, making it the second longest highway tunnel in North America, although it didn’t start as a highway tunnel. Originally, it was constructed as a railroad tunnel, and it is only 11.5 feet wide. Later, it was converted to a mixed-use tunnel for cars and the railroad.
This means that cars and buses must be “staged” at one end while vehicles are allowed through from the other. When a train comes, vehicles are held at both ends until the train passes through.