Dempster Highway to temporarily close between NWT and Yukon

Last modified: October 29, 2020 at 10:19am

The Northwest Territories government says Highway 8, more commonly known as the Dempster Highway, will temporarily close between the NWT and Yukon once ferries stop for the season. 

In a news release on Thursday morning, the territory said both ferries could close for the season within days depending on conditions. When that happens, the highway will close to traffic between kilometres one and 14.2. 

Only emergency, enforcement, and construction vehicles will be exempt from the closure.


The highway ordinarily remains open after ferries stop running for the season and before ice roads open.

However, this year the highway will temporarily shut down because of complications related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The territorial government says border control staff enforcing pandemic travel restrictions can’t easily access some sections of the highway once ferries stop running.

Anyone entering the NWT from the Yukon is currently required to self-isolate for two weeks in one of four larger centres, Inuvik being by far the easiest to access from the Dempster.

While the Dempster Highway is closed, drivers should use Highway 1 to enter or leave the territory, the NWT government said. Driving on a closed highway without an exemption is illegal.

The territory expects to reopen the Dempster Highway once ice roads open for the season.