Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk highway connected
By Andrew Macklin
April 11, 2016 – The governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories have announced the joining of the north and south construction spreads of the Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway, the first public highway to Canada’s Arctic coast. The contractor has successfully joined the two construction spreads with a first layer of embankment material placed on April 7, 2016. Geotextile fabric and additional earthworks to bring the embankment up to grade will be put in place by the end the month.
This key piece of transportation infrastructure is now concluding its third winter of construction. Once complete, it will create economic growth in the Beaufort Delta region by providing all-weather highway access to Tuktoyaktuk, which is currently served only by ice road, barge, and air. This project is delivering numerous socio-economic opportunities in the region by employing over 400 individuals at the peak of the construction season.
The scheduled opening to traffic is in the fall of 2017. The new highway will be the northern-most section of the envisioned Mackenzie Valley Highway that will connect Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast. The highway will decrease the cost of living in Tuktoyaktuk by enabling goods to be transported year-round by road, increase opportunities for business development, reduce the cost of accessing onshore and offshore oil and gas opportunities, and strengthen Canada’s sovereignty in the North.
The Government of Canada is contributing $200 million towards this project. The Government of the Northwest Territories is contributing $99 million. The total estimated cost of the project is $299-million.
The work is being completed using unique construction techniques that ensure the underlying continuous permafrost remains protected in a frozen state.