Photos show Dempster bridge damage that cut off Beaufort Delta

Newly released photos illustrate the damage that forced the closure of a Dempster Highway bridge this week.

Engineers are working to reopen the Eagle River Bridge – around 90 km west of the NWT border – after a vehicle struck the bridge last weekend, causing structural damage.

The closure means the NWT’s Beaufort Delta is currently inaccessible by road. The CBC has reported developing shortages of fresh produce and fuel as a result, though supplies are being rerouted by air where possible.


On Friday, the Yukon government released photos of the damage.

Damage to the Eagle River Bridge. Photo: Yukon government
Damage to the Eagle River Bridge. Photo: Yukon government

A crumpled strut and bracing are visible at one end of the bridge, the apparent result of a vehicle striking the bridge almost at the exact point where a sign notes its 5.4-metre maximum clearance.

A timeline for the highway’s reopening will be announced at 5pm on Saturday, the Yukon government’s public works and highways department stated on Facebook.

“Our priority remains the protection and safety of the travelling public and we’re working to get the bridge repaired and safely reopened as quickly as we can,” the department stated.

“Over the past several days, we’ve been working hard to make emergency repairs to the bridge. This work is still under way today. At the same time, an engineering review is under way as we continue to collect information from the site. This is how we will determine the bridge’s load capacity.”


The Eagle River Bridge from the air
The Eagle River Bridge from the air. Photo: Yukon government

The Yukon government warned people not to attempt to travel through the area until further notice.

The Dempster Highway offers the only road access between the NWT’s Beaufort Delta communities and southern Canada.