Caterpillar-made bulldozer with blade attachment on the front

Label remnant on RP side behind operator's seat, partially legible : "SAU[?] S[ER]VICE [Equ]ipment [R]oad Machinery, Wash."

This machine was used to build the Whitehorse Airport. Clearly the machine is severely eroded from being exposed to years of the harsh Yukon elements. The metal has rusted away, corroding the original Highway Yellow paint that once covered its body. The fabric from the seat is frayed and tattered exposing the padding which has completely dissolved.

In the 1920, landing strips were cleared in remote areas of the Yukon, British Columbia, and Alaska. However, it was not until the early 1940s that it became clear that air bases were required in the Northwest. An airbase in Whitehorse would be crucial to the allied war effort during the Second World War. Since a minor airstrip and airport already existed in Whitehorse, the runways and hangers had to be brought up to the standard required by the United States Army. The airfield was expanded in 1941 to prepare for its participation in U.S. Army operations. The airfield would become an integral part to the impeding Alaska Highway and CANOL projects as well as to ferry aircrafts to Russia under the Lend-Lease program.

To develop a superior landing strip, gravel was processed on site to be used as the runways foundation layer. All the work was done by heavy machinery brought it by the United States Military. A dump truck was needed to move the gravel, a bulldozer to spread it while a grader and tractor towing a packer were to follow which created a hard packed landing surface for the various personnel and freight filled military planes.


Yukon Transportation Museum, Whitehorse

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