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Replacing the Frank Channel Bridge will now cost extra $20M

The bridge over Frank Channel in Behchokǫ̀. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

Ottawa and the NWT government say they will spend an extra $20 million to replace the Frank Channel Bridge, bringing the overall cost to $70 million.

The Highway 3 bridge, a critical link between North Slave and Tłı̨chǫ communities and the south, is more than 60 years old. The first $50 million in funding for a replacement was announced in 2021.

The new bridge will also support heavier and larger cargo loads, the NWT government has previously said.

In a Thursday announcement, the GNWT and federal government said extra cash was needed “to address inflation and market escalations that have significantly added to costs.”



Ottawa is contributing another $15 million on top of the $37.5 million it had previously committed. The GNWT is adding $5 million to its earlier $12.5-million contribution.

Initial work like surveying is expected to start later this year. Construction was originally supposed to begin last year.

A news release suggested the replacement bridge won’t now be completed until at least 2026, rather than the previous estimate of 2024.

The new bridge will be built next to the existing one, which will only be demolished once its replacement has opened.