Pipeline Display Dedication: (L-R) Jim Plaquet, 2017 President of Pioneers Men's Igloo No. 4; Wanda Huber, President of Pioneers Women's Igloo No. 8; Brian Quackenbush, Pipefitters Local 375; Bill Bailey, Alyeska Pipeline Service Company; John Plutt, Pipefitters Local 375. Photo courtesy of Jim Plaquet.
The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System was completed in 1977, and carried North Slope oil from Prudhoe Bay at the northern tip of Alaska to the Valdez Marine Terminal in Prince William Sound 800 miles to the south. The pipeline has been recognized as a landmark of engineering although the task was made slightly easier due to lessons learned from the building of the Davidson Ditch, Alaska's first long-distance combination pipeline and ditch, built some 50 years earlier.
With the laying of the first section of pipe on March 27, 1975, construction began on what at the time was the largest private construction project in American history. More than 28,000 people worked directly on the pipeline at the peak of its construction in the Fall of 1975. Many workers from Fairbanks were hired at the local union halls making Fairbanks the major hiring location for the pipeline. Ft. Wainwright army base in Fairbanks housed workers employed on the project near the city.
Fairbanks was also the major hub for materials and pipe staged at the pipeline yard. The last weld was completed on May 31, 1977. Less than a month later, on June 20, 1977, oil from the North Slope’s Prudhoe Bay field began flowing to the port of Valdez at four miles an hour through the 48-inch-wide pipe. The oil arrived at the port 38 days later.
The completed Trans-Alaskan Pipeline system, including pumping stations, connecting pipelines, and the ice-free Valdez Marine Terminal ended up costing $8 billion and is still in production today.
A small section of the 48-inch pipe was donated by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, the designer, builder and operator of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, for the purpose of creating a display to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the date oil first starting flowing through the pipeline.
Pipefitters Local 375, with a historical connection to the pipeline, cut the pipe and created artwork of the State of Alaska depicting the pipeline's route from start to finish. The pieces were assembled, secured, and dedicated by the Pioneers of Alaska Fairbanks on June 20, 2017.
— Article contributed by Jim Plaquet,
2017 President of Men's Igloo No. 4.
Dedication plaque affixed to the pipe display. Photo courtesy of Jim Plaquet. The plaque reads:
This 48-inch piece of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline honors the valiant efforts of the Pioneering Pipeliners, who worked on the construction and maintenance of this historical feat of arctic engineering.
This pivotal link between the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay and the terminal at Valdez, was constructed between the years 1975-1977.
The labors of these gallant men & women brought considerable prosperity to the Great State of Alaska and it's residents.
-- Dedicated by the --
PIONEERS OF ALASKA
on the 20th of June, 2017
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the date Alaska North Slope crude oil first moved through the Trans-Alsaka pipeline on June 20, 1977
The pipe was generously donated by Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and labor by Pipefitters Local 375.
Where to Find The Trans-Alaska Pipeline Display
The display can be found outside Pioneer Museum and "Big Stampede Show". They are physically located in Gold Rush Town inside Pioneer Park:
2300 Airport Way
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701