Only a few kilometres left to connect the northern and southern sections of the new permanent highway including two more bridges and several culverts. The new road should be completed by the fall
Photo Credit: Govt Northwest Territories.

New road to finally link Canada, coast to coast to coast

The end of the Tuk ice road, welcome to the all weather road

For the first time ever, Canadians will soon be able to drive from the Atlantic coast to the Pacific coast to the Arctic coast.

Construction of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway. The four-year long project is nearing completion, set for this fall © Government of Northwest Territories

For decades winter ice roads have been a lifeline to remote Arctic communities and mining sites.

While people could often fly in and out, air travel has not been a practical alternative for bringing in large pieces of equipment, food or other goods.

But a rapidly warming Arctic means that the ice-road season throughout the north is becoming shorter and more hazardous.

Former Inuvik Mayor Peter Clarkson spent the last week of the ice road walking the 180km road on foot with his dog. *The road has played an incredible role connecting communities, it’s a good way to celebrate its role for the people of the Beaufort Delta*. © Mackenzie Scott- CBC

This has spurred the efforts to complete a long held idea to create an all season highway to the Arctic coast community of Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea.

The new highway will become the first all-weather road to the Arctic Ocean in Canada. © Government of Northwest Territories

The current road ends in Inuvik in the Northwest Territories over 120 kilometres (air direct) south of “Tuk”.  The new road will be a 187 kilometre route winding around lakes and muskeg patches..

The current ice road -which is not one continuous road, but rather several sections over stretches of water and muskeg between areas of land- was officially closed for the final time on April 13 this year, after some 40 years of (seasonal) operation.

The ice road is the cleared section over thick ice which covers many sections on the 180km route from Inuvik up to Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea. A critical seasonal link for decades, this was its last season. © Ian Mackenzie, via Wikimedia Commons

The new Inuvik-Tuktoyatuk Highway has been an engineering challenge to build a hard surface on many areas of permafrost. Much of the construction also had to be performed in the Arctic winter as the ice road was still needed to bring in supplies and heavy equipment.

© Govt of Northwest Territories

It is expected to usher in a new era of tourism to the north and help with sovereignty claims as well.

CBC video

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