It's Not Snow At Hogan Hill; DOT Has Tapped Into Gleaming Granite For Construction Project

Pure White Rocks Provide Surprising Fill For DOT's Latest Road Alignment Project Near Hogan Hill: Tough Granite   Road construction near...

Pure White Rocks Provide Surprising Fill For DOT's Latest Road Alignment Project Near Hogan Hill: Tough Granite  

Road construction near Hogan Hill. (All photos, Country Journal, June 2nd, 2021) 

Hogan Hill is full of surprises. It was an important landmark for the Ahtna people. Ahtna Traditional Chief Fred Ewan once told the Country Journal that his family used to go there for birch. 

Hogan Hill's current English name was taken from a telegraph station name for the Wamcats Telegraph that came through the Copper Valley. 

The hill is a vantage point. You can see the Alaska Range, the Talkeetna Mountains and the Chugach Mountains from here. From Mile 160 you can see the Wrangells.

(In many ways, this is an interesting parallel to the panoramic views from the crest of the hill at Eureka, where you can see all of those same mountain ranges – as well as the mighty Wrangells. Both Hogan Hill and Eureka Summit are similar, dramatic viewing areas of the four surrounding mountain chains that encircle the region.) 

This summer, DOT is working on a road alignment project near Hogan Hill. 

(See other stories of road construction in this Journal.)

Much of the rock at Mile 160 of the Richardson that's being used as fill by DOT is white as snow. We all know that is unusual for this region, where rocks tend to be gray. In much of the valley, the soil is sandy and there are few if any rocks at all, outside of riverbeds, or the occasional cannon-ball shaped rock that hurtled out of Mt.Wrangell in a distant eruption. 

The Journal took photos of the Richardson Highway work site and sent one to DOT for review. Ben Coker, a DOT engineer, told the Journal: 

"Yes, it is granite. The geologists have told us it is very high in quartz and the blasting subcontractors have said that it is some of the hardest/toughest rock that they’ve experienced in Alaska. Our geologists drilled and sampled it and our designers designed the new alignment areas like you see in the photo [the Copper River Country Journal] provided. You will see more rock like it along the Alyeska Pipeline in this area and in places around Meier’s Lake. We’re hoping that the rock in these areas will provide us a stable road bed to drive on for the future."

Watch For Steep Drop-offs Along The Road In The Construction Zone 


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