Winter roads start to open as NWT preps for holiday getaway

Vehicles on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk all-season road
Vehicles on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk all-season road on its opening day. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

If you’re driving out of town on Friday for the holiday break we’ve got your road report right here.

In the territory, winter roads to Sambaa K’e, from Tulita to Norman Wells, from Fort Simpson to Wrigley, and from Wrigley to the Délįne access road are open. 

Crossings at N’dulee, Liard, the Peel River, and the Mackenzie River are all open as well, but – as with the winter roads – some weight restrictions are in place. They can be checked on the Department of Infrastructure’s highway conditions map.

Down in Fort Smith, Wood Buffalo National Park advised on Thursday the road from the community to Fort Chipewyan, Alberta, is open to traffic weighing up to 5,000 kilograms.



On the south side of Fort Chipewyan, the winter road carrying on to Fort McMurray is also open.

For the first leg of the journey, travellers from Fort Smith are encouraged to call Parks Canada’s 24-hour hotline at (867) 872-7962 for information.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo handles the second leg of the road and has provided a list of places travellers can check to find out the current status of the road.

One Fort Smith resident wrote on a community Facebook page on Wednesday: “Drove winter road yesterday. Some water on river crossing but nothing to worry about … Moose Island to Chip rough due to lack of snow.”



In the Sahtu, winter roads to Colville Lake, Norman Wells, and Délįne are still closed.

Up in the Beaufort Delta, you still can’t make it in to Aklavik. The 15-year average opening date is December 15, so the road is opening later than normal this year.

And in the Tłı̨chǫ region, roads to Gametì, Wekweètì, and Whatì are all still closed as well. These roads tend to open in the new year, with average opening dates of February 19, March 3, and January 26 respectively.