Dettah ice road closes abruptly as Yellowknife turns to slush

Last modified: April 10, 2023 at 10:51am

The ice road linking Yellowknife and Dettah closed for the season on Monday, the NWT’s Department of Infrastructure said on Twitter.

The department originally stated the road would close by Wednesday in a tweet posted shortly before 9am. By 10:45am, however, the department said the road was shut.

The road has suffered significant areas of overflow in recent days. The department said ice conditions were the main factor behind the road’s closure.


A closure date of April 10 is six days earlier than the 20-year average closing date of April 16 and nearly two weeks earlier than last year, when the road lasted until April 22.

In Yellowknife, some residential roads became impassable over the Easter weekend as built-up snow and ice degraded rapidly in warm conditions.

There were numerous reports of vehicles becoming stuck in the middle of streets, and City of Yellowknife graders were said by some residents to have made unscheduled trips in an attempt to improve the situation.

Even so, some roads remained in a treacherous condition by Monday morning. The City of Yellowknife, most of whose staff are not working during the Easter holiday, had not responded by Monday to a weekend request for information regarding work taking place to clear roads.

Some affected streets are not scheduled to receive snow removal work until Friday this week or later.


Yellowknife’s daily high has been above 4C for each of the past four days, having last peaked above freezing on October 27, 2022.

A freezing rain warning was issued in Yellowknife on Monday morning.

“Patchy freezing rain is likely early this morning near Yellowknife. Freezing rain will change to snow before noon,” Environment Canada declared.

Snow is expected in the city’s forecast for the next two days, which could further complicate the condition of some roads.


The daily high is not expected to return above freezing until Thursday, when slightly warmer weather is scheduled to return.