Those who built the Milford Road and the Homer Tunnel in the 1930s were, for the most part, victims of the Great Depression and directed to this work by the government of the day. For these men of the road, and their wives who followed them into this wilderness, life was incredibly harsh, but the road and tunnel had to go through.
The weather could be merciless, the terrain ferocious, steep and rugged and beset by floods and deadly avalanches. Some workers died; bridge structures, road works and tunnel portals demolished, by the irrepressible forces of nature that marauded this area. In 1952 the road was finally completed. However, it remained closed during winter until the late 1970s, when tourist and fishing interests successfully lobbied for the year-round operation of the road.
After a massive avalanche killed a road maintenance supervisor in 1983, a programme was developed to monitor, assess and control the avalanche risk on the Milford Road. This avalanche control programme enables the road to stay open as much as possible with optimum margins of safety for all road users.