Northern Canada Highway to get facelift

The North Klondike Highway at Pelly Crossing, in northwestern Canada. Funding has been announced for repairs to the highway. (Philippe Morin/CBC)
The North Klondike Highway, which winds from Whitehorse to Dawson City, in Arctic Canada, is getting a facelift.

The funding, $118 million from the federal government and $39 million from the territorial government, will go to fixing the worst chunks of the highway, announced MP Larry Bagnell alongside Yukon transportation Minister Richard Mostyn at the Yukon Transportation Museum in Whitehorse on Wednesday.

The narrow road is in “great condition” said Mostyn, but it’s outdated. The highway was built in the 1950s.

Seven sections and three bridges between Carmacks and the turnoff for the Dempster Highway are getting reconstructed, resurfaced or replaced — approximately 98 kilometres of the 355 kilometre stretch.

The McCabe Creek and Moose Creek bridges will get repaired, while the Crooked Creek bridge will be replaced.

The road rehabilitation is “to improve the safety, reliability and efficiency of the North Klondike Highway,” Bagnell said.

Last year, the federal government invested $7 million to modernize the transportation system technologies in the territory.

In February 2018, CBC reported that a proposal to the federal government for funding of a multi-year project on the highway stated the current road doesn’t meet guidelines for a 90 km/hour highway. Because of that, there are spring time load restrictions on the roadway.

“I don’t think we’re going be able to get rid of the restrictions altogether,” said Mostyn, but it will reduce them to allow heavier loads.

The project is scheduled to begin in 2020 and be complete by 2027. The federal government will give $118 million over nine years from the National Trade Corridors Fund. This is a new fund is to support the flow of goods and services while sustaining the effects of climate change.

“Once complete the work will also significantly reduce the costs of maintaining the section of the highway,” Bagnell said. “And of course that’s a saving to Yukon taxpayers.”

There are no plans yet for which sections will be completed first.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Large wildfires in Yukon, northwestern Canada threaten highway, CBC News

Finland: Finland takes another step towards building Arctic rail link, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Railway linking Barents Sea coast to Arctic Finland not commercially viable, report says, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Smelters, huskies, and fish pies: the Arctic road from Norway to Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Growing number of Swedes choose train travel over flying to reduce pollution, Radio Sweden

United States: Trump claims Alaska wildlife refuge road ‘almost completed’… but is it?, Alaska Public Media

Kaila Jefferd-Moore, CBC News

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