The second highway construction season between the Arctic Canadian communities of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk has come to a close.
In all, progress was made on 65.1 kilometres of highway during the 2014-2015 winter construction season.
When finished, the all-season Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway will run 137 kilometres.
“Our Government is pleased to see the tremendous progress made on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Highway,” said Leona Aglukkaq Canada’s Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency in a statement this week. “This historic project is creating jobs and ensuring continued economic growth and long-term prosperity in Canada’s North.”
Inuvik is a town of approximately 3400 people in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
It’s connected by the Dempster Highway to the neighbouring Yukon territory.
Tuktoyaktuk, a predominantly Inuit community of approximately 825 people, is situated north of Inuvik on the Beaufort Sea coast. In winter, an ice road connects it to Inuvik. Otherwise, the community is served by air or by barge.
The new all-weather road is expected to reduce Tuktoyaktuk’s cost of living and increase business opportunities in the region, especially around oil and gas exploration.
“Strategic investments in territory-building infrastructure projects will help us better achieve our government’s vision of a strong, prosperous Northwest Territories,” said Tom Beaulieu, the Northwest Territories minister of transportation, in a news release.
“We are very pleased with the contractor’s progress and achievements with local employment, training, safety, and quality under difficult conditions.”
The Inuvik Tuktoyaktuk Highway is scheduled to finish in 2016.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: The geometries of Arctic all-weather road construction, Blog by Mia Bennett
Norway: Norway delays bridge-building to Russia on road to Crimea, Barents Observer
Russia: Murmansk, Russia: Transport hub trouble, again, Barents Observer
United States: Plans to raise Arctic Alaska highway with 2 million tons of gravel, Alaska Dispatch News