Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway reopens for cars
The territorial government is reopening the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway to cars as of 7pm on Friday.
The road, which officially opened six months ago, closed again on May 12 owing to soft, slippery conditions which threatened to strand some vehicles.
In the legislature, the infrastructure minister said the highway was “still under construction” despite having opened to traffic in November 2017, adding contractors were working ‘deficiencies’ along the road – which cost a combined $299 million in federal and territorial funding to build.
Light vehicles weighing up to 5,000 kilograms can use the road again from 7pm on Friday, June 1. Drivers are warned by the territory to expect construction crews, equipment, and possible one-lane restrictions during their journeys.
Follow the Department of Infrastructure on Twitter for updates on road conditions.
Meanwhile, a Yellowknife MLA issued a news release on Friday expressing frustration at his colleagues’ refusal to consider calling for an audit of the highway project.
Kieron Testart, the Kam Lake MLA, moved a motion on Thursday requesting that Canada’s auditor general review the highway’s construction.
“The purpose of such a review is to ensure that large infrastructure projects are well-managed according to best practices, that they deliver good value for the taxpayer’s dollars, and that we can learn from our experiences in order to better manage future projects,” Testart said in the statement.
“I am at a loss to understand why the members of the assembly who voted against this motion would not want to discover what lessons can be learned from this project, especially when the costs of this independent analysis are borne by the Office of the Auditor General.”
Herb Nakimayak, the Nunakput MLA, attacked the motion in the legislature, saying: “I think we all know that an audit is going to come down the road, but, at this time, it questions the integrity of the contractors and the people of my region.
“I think that doing something right now on a project that is unfinished is a waste of people’s time and resources who are still working on this project.”
Speaking on behalf of cabinet, infrastructure minister Wally Schumann said calls for the auditor general to get involved were unnecessary and would not be supported by ministers.
“Federal officials indicated that this is one of the most highly monitored and transparent projects they have ever seen, which speaks to the level of oversight that is being committed to the project,” said Schumann.
“Given the high level of the project oversight, the Department of Infrastructure does not believe a special audit will have incremental value, and there are other higher-priority issues the auditor general could look into. However, if an audit is undertaken, the government is very confident that these audit results will be positive.”
The motion was defeated by nine votes to eight, with the regular MLAs for the Sahtu, Mackenzie Delta, and Nunakput joining cabinet in rejecting it.