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Great American Infrastructure: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System

Posted by Infra on Friday, June 24th, 2011

This is the second in a series of entries celebrating infrastructure achievements in the United States.

Marker 562 Alaskan Pipeline

What: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is an oil pipeline that feeds crude oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, Alaska.

When: Construction began in 1975. The first barrel of oil arrived in Valdez, Alaska on July 28th, 1977 at 11:02 PM.

Cost: $8 billion


  • Length: 800 miles
  • Pipe Diameter: 48 inches
  • Number of Pumping Stations: 11
  • Maximum Throughput: 2.136 million barrels per day

Interesting Facts: Construction of the Alaskan Pipeline required the creation of a highway to help move materials across Alaska. That highway is called the Dalton Highway, and stretches 414 miles.

In 2002 Daniel Carson Lewis was sentenced to 16 years in jail, and ordered to pay the sum of $17 million in clean up costs for drunkenly shooting a weld in the pipeline, causing the pipeline to leak 6,144 barrels of oil; the second-largest mainland oil spill in the pipeline’s history.

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