Where should the Mackenzie Valley Highway go? (If it ever gets built.)

The proposed route of the Mackenzie Valley Highway as seen on a GNWT map in April 2022
The proposed route of the Mackenzie Valley Highway as seen on a GNWT map in April 2022.

The Mackenzie Valley Highway from Wrigley to Norman Wells has been an NWT priority for years. While it’s still not close to being fully funded, work to plan the road is progressing.

The territorial government thinks it needs about $700 million to build an all-season gravel highway for 321 kilometres along the river valley from the Dehcho to the Sahtu.

So far, most of the $135 million or so received from the federal government has been spent on a bridge and an access road. An environmental assessment of the full project is expected in the next couple of years.

This week, the NWT government asked for feedback on the proposed route of the finished highway, including not only where the road will go but also where gravel pits are planned.



To help, the territory has produced an interactive map of that proposed route and areas where it would diverge from the existing winter road.

The territorial government said meetings with various organizations and individuals were being held this week, in what it called “targeted engagement.” Anyone else is invited to provide feedback using a GNWT webpage or by emailing the project team.

The GNWT said the current request is for feedback related to the route alignment, locations of quarries and borrow sources, and activities like construction camps, laydown areas, water use and waste management.

Feedback sessions about the road’s potential environmental impact should be announced in May, the territory said.