Construction on the Dettah ice road is starting and the road should open by the end of January’s second week, the NWT’s Department of Infrastructure said on Thursday.
Ice on Yellowknife Bay is now thick enough to start construction, department spokesperson Jennifer Lukas confirmed by email. Snow clearing should begin on Friday and, if all goes well, the road could be open within a week.
“Due to the existing snow depth, it will take our crews a few days to construct the crossing,” Lukas stated.
For the past 20 years, the average opening date for the road – which connects Yellowknife to the nearby community of Dettah, cutting in half the usual journey time around the bay – has been December 23. However, in the previous four years, the road has not opened until early January.
Dettah ice road operational dates
- 2018/19 – January 11 to April 11
- 2017/18 – January 5 to April 18
- 2016/17 – January 6 to April 7
- 2015/16 – January 2 to April 18
- 2014/15 – December 19 to April 12
The Department of Infrastructure warned residents it is illegal and unsafe to drive on the road’s route across the bay until the road is officially opened.
“To ensure your own and safety and the safety of our workers, please stay away from the construction area until the road has been opened,” said Lukas.
The department will announce the road opening and other updates via its Twitter account.
A range of other ice roads across the territory have already opened, though most are subject to warnings related to traffic above specific weight limits.