Edgerton Highway - McCarthy Road

Chitina, AK 99566

The McCarthy Road follows an old railroad bed from Chitina for about 60 miles east almost to McCarthy. The Copper River and Northwestern, or C.R. and N.W., Railway was built between 1909 and 1912 to serve the Kennicott copper mining area. Despite early claims that C.R. & N.W. stood for "Can't Run and Never Will," the railroad operated successfully until it was abandoned when large scale mining ended in 1938. Ice flows and spring floods destroyed the Copper River Bridge only a few years after maintenance of the rail line ceased. Most of the rails were salvaged for scrap iron. The route was little used from 1938 until 1971 when it was modified into an automobile route by construction of a new bridge over the Copper River and road surface work along the way.
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