If you are moving to Alaska and building your own place, chances are you are going to be out in the bush. This may not mean much to you now, but there is a lot of work that goes into building off the grid. You can find land cheap (do not let anyone tell you that you can’t) and in fact so cheap that you may consider it in the near future. The problem with the cheaper land in Alaska is that 9/10 its tens, if not hundreds of miles from any major road. You can see how important building accessible roads on your land can be. “Roads” in Alaska, for the most part would be considered trails/dirt roads down in the Lower 48. The problem is the sheer size of the state. Not only is Alaska ranked last (50th) in population density (it comes out to about 1.26 people per square mile which is 1/6th of next to least dense state) but half the population lives in one city (Anchorage, Alaska). So what does this mean for the people who live in Alaska? Well, basically it means that most people actually use planes and boats to get around. There are 12 highways in Alaska which might sound like a lot but if you consider what they think a Highway is, Texas has over 654 thousand miles of highway (Alaska has 30,000 if total land roads and is nearly twice as large as Texas). Alaska ranks 45th in total roads while also having the largest area out of any state in the United States.
Great movies to look at if you are interested in how the Alaska Highway was built (yes these are going to be similar to what you are going to want to build):
Problems you will run into if you don’t plan this out properly
- Very Steep Grades (In Alaska, this will mean an inability to get up steeper inclines during the Winter.
- Popped Tires from not moving all of the excess materials to the side
- Slope support disappears by undercutting
- Runoff gets concentrated and destroys the road all together
- Water Quality gets degraded
Things that you want to take care of before you start construction
Before you start construction of your new there are a lot of items that you have to take a look at and make sure you have “dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.” Firstly, probably the most important step of all is gathering as much information available about the land you are building on in advance. Even if you are subcontracting out you need to do this for the contractor because they won’t normally just have that information. Contour maps are probably going to be your greatest savior unless you are building on a plain and they are usually available at your local, county or state government offices. You can also find them from the U.S. Geological Survey. You will also need soil information which can be obtained from the United States Department of Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Once you have all of the information you need you need to map out the entire location. You should have already put out markers to designate where your property starts and ends (marking your territory per say).