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Inuvik-Tuk Highway to receive $14M ‘rehabilitation’

A view of the Inuvik-Tuk highway posted to Twitter on June 1 by the Department of Infrastructure
A view of the Inuvik-Tuk highway posted to Twitter by the Department of Infrastructure.

The NWT and federal governments are spending $14 million to raise areas of the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway’s embankment, improving road safety and reliability.

Though the highway only opened at the end of 2017, it stretches across permafrost-rich areas where the stability of the embankment can be threatened by permafrost thaw.

As a result, Ottawa said on Wednesday, the road now needs “rehabilitation.”

Engineers are already finding that conditions along the highway are not quite what was anticipated when the road was built, at a cost of $300 million.



Now, the NWT will pay $3.5 million and Ottawa will contribute $10.5 million for work from kilometre 22 to 90 that will involve “raising low-profile embankment areas, improving drainage, and installing guardrails as needed.”

Preliminary research has suggested that parts of the highway will gradually shift over time because of changes in permafrost and the surrounding environment, though researchers from two universities found it “difficult to identify the contribution of a single predominant process” as various factors were involved.

“The project is built in an area of continuous permafrost and is therefore highly susceptible to the impacts of a warming climate,” the federal government stated in a news release. “This investment will increase the highway’s resilience and extend its lifespan.”

No firm timeline was provided for the work to take place.